25 Aug Agent Orange and VA Disability Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes that exposure to Agent Orange contributed to the development of various diseases. For veterans who developed some of these diseases or conditions, they may recover VA disability benefits. Further, for some veterans, the process for applying for these benefits is much simpler than the ordinary process for applying for VA disability benefits.
Agent Orange and other Herbicides
VA disability compensation is available for veterans who developed certain diseases that are linked to exposure to herbicides when such exposure occurred during service in the military. Additionally, dependents and survivors of veterans exposed may also be eligible for benefits.
Agent Orange was a mixture of herbicides that the military sprayed in Vietnam and Korean demilitarized zones in order to remove dense foliage. It was also used to clear plants from military locations in the United States and other countries beginning as early as the 1950s. Further, the VA determined that from 1969 to 1986, anyone who regularly and repeatedly operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft may have been exposed, as these planes were used to spray Agent Orange.
The law operates under the presumption that certain diseases were caused by proximity to these chemicals. Due to this presumption, the VA does not require proof that the illness began during or was worsened by military service. This has the effect of simplifying the application and approval process for claims related to these diseases. Some examples of diseases that are given this presumption include Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. The entire list of diseases can be found here.
The presumptions exist for veterans who served:
- In Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- In or near Korean demilitarized zones between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971
If a veteran falls within either of the above categories, there is no need to prove exposure; it is presumed that exposure occurred. For veterans not falling within the above-listed categories, it is still possible to obtain benefits, but there must be proof that exposure actually occurred.
The following are the requirements for a veteran seeking benefits for a disease the VA presumes is associated with herbicide exposure:
- Medical diagnosis or a disease that the VA presumes is associated with Agent Orange
- Competent evidence of:
- Service in Vietnam or at or near Korean demilitarized zones
- Exposure to herbicides at a location other than the two listed above
- Competent medical evidence that the disease began to manifest within the deadline (if any)
If you were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides and have developed diseases or health conditions, as a result, you may be eligible for compensation. For more information, speak with an experienced disabilities law attorney today. At the Klok Law Firm LLC, we proudly represent our nation’s veterans in applying for and maintaining disability benefits.