38 U.S. Code § 1164 - Presumptions of service-connection for Coronavirus Disease 2019

(a) Presumptions Generally.—
(1) For purposes of laws administered by the Secretary and subject to section 1113 of this title, if symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (in this section referred to as “COVID–19”) described in subsection (d) manifest within one of the manifestation periods described in paragraph (2) in an individual who served in a qualifying period of duty described in subsection (b)—
(A)
infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (in this section referred to as “SARS–CoV–2”) shall be presumed to have occurred during the qualifying period of duty;
(B)
COVID–19 shall be presumed to have been incurred during the qualifying period of duty; and
(C)
if the individual becomes disabled or dies as a result of COVID–19, it shall be presumed that the individual became disabled or died during the qualifying period of duty for purposes of establishing that the individual served in the active military, naval, or air service.
(2)
(A) The manifestation periods described in this paragraph are the following:
(i)
During a qualifying period of duty described in subsection (b), if that period of duty was more than 48 continuous hours in duration.
(ii)
Within 14 days after the individual’s completion of a qualifying period of duty described in subsection (b).
(iii)
An additional period prescribed under subparagraph (B).
(B)
(i)
If the Secretary determines that a manifestation period of more than 14 days after completion of a qualifying period of service is appropriate for the presumptions under paragraph (1), the Secretary may prescribe that additional period by regulation.
(ii)
A determination under clause (i) shall be made in consultation with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(b) Qualifying Period of Duty Described.—A qualifying period of duty described in this subsection is—
(1) a period of active duty performed—
(A)
during the national emergency declared by the President under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.); and
(B)
before the date that is three years after the date of the enactment of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020; or
(2) training duty under title 10 or full-time National Guard duty (as defined in section 101 of title 10), performed under orders issued on or after March 13, 2020
(A)
during the national emergency declared by the President under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.); and
(B)
before the date that is three years after the date of the enactment of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.
(c) Application of Presumptions for Training Duty.—When, pursuant to subsection (a), COVID–19 is presumed to have been incurred during a qualifying period of duty described in subsection (b)(2)—
(1)
COVID–19 shall be deemed to have been incurred in the line of duty during a period of active military, naval, or air service; and
(2)
where entitlement to benefits under this title is predicated on the individual who was disabled or died being a veteran, benefits for disability or death resulting from COVID–19 as described in subsection (a) shall be paid or furnished as if the individual was a veteran, without regard to whether the period of duty would constitute active military, naval, or air service under section 101 of this title.
(d) Symptoms of COVID–19.—
For purposes of subsection (a), symptoms of COVID–19 are those symptoms that competent medical evidence demonstrates are experienced by an individual affected and directly related to COVID–19.
(e) Medical Examinations and Opinions.—
If there is a question of whether the symptoms experienced by an individual described in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) during a manifestation period described in paragraph (2) of such subsection are attributable to COVID–19 resulting from infection with SARS–CoV–2 during the qualifying period of duty, in determining whether a medical examination or medical opinion is necessary to make a decision on the claim within the meaning of section 5103A(d) of this title, a qualifying period of duty described in subsection (b) of this section shall be treated as if it were active military, naval, or air service for purposes of section 5103A(d)(2)(B) of this title.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

The National Emergencies Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(1)(A), (2)(A), is Pub. L. 94–412, Sept. 14, 1976, 90 Stat. 1255, which is classified principally to chapter 34 (§ 1601 et seq.) of Title 50, War and National Defense. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1601 of Title 50 and Tables.

The date of the enactment of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, referred to in subsec. (b)(1)(B), (2)(B), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 116–315, which was approved Jan. 5, 2021.

Codification

Another section 1164 was renumbered section 1166 of this title.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.