Posted on behalf of The Nye Law Group on Mar 09, 2017 in Veterans' Benefits
If you fought in the Vietnam War you may have been exposed to Agent Orange. This mixture of herbicides and defoliants was often sprayed in combat zones to destroy vegetation used by enemy combatants for cover, food and shelter.
Unfortunately, it was later discovered that Agent Orange contained a substance that caused U.S. service members to develop severe, life-threatening health issues.
If you have a disease associated with Agent Orange exposure, you may qualify for veterans' disability benefits. While disability benefits cannot cure your health problems, they can provide the financial help you need to manage your health problems and support yourself and your family.
Veterans must provide proof of three things to obtain disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure:
Veterans who served in the following situations may also qualify for benefits:
Veterans who served in these situations may have a much higher burden of proof than veterans who meet the three main criteria.
Presumptive diseases are medical conditions that the VA automatically assumes to be connected to a veteran's service. Veterans who have these diseases qualify for benefits if they can show they are at least 10 percent disabled.
Presumptive diseases related to Agent Orange exposure include:
The Agent Orange Act of 1991 could allow more diseases to be added to this list. The law authorizes the secretary of the VA to obtain an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences to find out if there are other diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
The law also says that a disease can be removed from the list if there is evidence that it is not caused by Agent Orange exposure.
Nonpresumptive diseases are those not on the above list. In order to obtain benefits, the veteran must support a connection between exposure to Agent Orange and their diagnosis, and prove their exposure occurred during their service.
Children of female veterans exposed to Agent Orange are more likely to suffer severe birth defects, according to medical studies.
These children may qualify for health care, vocational rehabilitation and disability compensation from the VA if they can prove they have a permanent mental or physical birth defect tied to Agent Orange and not another issue, such as a genetic disorder.
Children with spina bifida may be eligible for benefits if they were conceived after their mother's service in Vietnam, and the mother's service was between January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975 or the Korean DMZ between September 1, 1967 through August 31, 1971.
Children of female service members who were in Vietnam from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975 may be eligible for benefits if they have one of these birth defects:
If you are a Vietnam veteran or a child of one who suffers a disability stemming from Agent Orange exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. The Nye Law Group's veterans' disability attorneys can help you manage your disability claim, working to secure all of the benefits you deserve.