Veterans' Disability Benefits for Service Members Exposed to Agent Orange

Posted on behalf of The Nye Law Group on Mar 09, 2017 in Veterans' Benefits

veteran saluteIf 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.  

Am I Eligible for Disability Benefits Due to Agent Orange?

Veterans must provide proof of three things to obtain disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure:

  • They have a diagnosed medical condition associated with Agent Orange.
  • They served in Vietnam between January 1962 and May 1975, or in or near the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) from September 1967 to August 31, 1971.
  • Their disease began affecting them by the deadline set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for their specific disease.

Veterans who served in the following situations may also qualify for benefits:

  • Open air ships on Vietnamese inland waterways or along the coast
  • In the vicinity of certain Thailand military bases from February 1961 to May 1975
  • Near Agent Orange testing or storage sites
  • As pilots and crew of C-123 cargo planes following the Vietnam War

Veterans who served in these situations may have a much higher burden of proof than veterans who meet the three main criteria.

Does My Medical Condition Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Presumptive Diseases

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:

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Chloracne
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Certain types of respiratory cancer
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda

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

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.

Veterans' Benefits for Affected Children

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.

Spina Bifida

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.

Other Birth Defects Related to Agent Orange

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:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cleft palate
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Congenital heart 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.

Call 855-856-4212 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.

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The personal injury lawyers at The Nye Law Group have a strong reputation of standing up for the rights of those who have been injured throughout Georgia and South Carolina.

We are committed to fighting for justice and compensation for injury victims who have suffered because of another’s negligence in auto accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and many other situations.

We offer personal injury victims a free consultation to discuss their legal options. YOU OWE US NOTHING UNLESS WE RECOVER COMPENSATION FOR YOU.

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