How to Get Agent Orange VA Compensation for Presumptive Medical Conditions and Diseases
If you were exposed to Agent Orange during your U.S. military service, and later developed cancer or another medical condition, you might be eligible for VA service-connected disability compensation even if the claim was denied years ago.
If the VA has already denied a claim (even if it was years ago), book a time now for an in-person meeting (Dublin, Ohio) or Zoom meeting to speak to a VA Accredited Attorney to help you re-open your claim. You can also call today at (614) 453-5208.
If you were not exposed to Agent Orange, but are a wartime veteran or surviving spouse that needs in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care, you could be eligible for up to $27,000 per year in VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits.
How Much Will My Monthly Agent Orange VA Compensation Benefit be?
A single veteran can receive up to $39,984 (2022) per year in tax-free benefits from the VA due to their exposure to Agent Orange and resulting medical condition. A married veteran, or veteran with dependents such as a child or dependent parent can receive $42,214 (2022) or more.
The VA will rate your condition on a scale of 0 to 100% to determine how much the monthly benefit will be. The worse your condition is, the higher your rating, and the higher the monthly payment.
For example, if you have cancer that is active, the VA will consider you to be 100% disabled, which means you will receive the maximum monthly benefit until six months after you successfully complete your cancer treatment program. Then, you will need to have another medical evaluation. Once the VA receives the evaluation, they will re-rate your medical condition and possibly adjust the monthly payment.
Retroactive Agent Orange VA Compensation Benefits
If you are a Vietnam veteran who served “in-country” or in “blue water” and you have cancer or one of the conditions listed above but your previous claim was denied, contact us right away. If your claim was denied but your disease was later added to the list of presumptive conditions, you may be able to re-file your claim and receive benefits back to the date you first filed it in the 1980s!
Similarly, if you were married to a Vietnam veteran at the time of his or her death (regardless of whether you remarried), or are an adult child or parent of Vietnam veteran that has passed away, you may be able to re-open the denied claim if the veteran had cancer or one of the other conditions listed above and receive retroactive VA compensation benefits back to the date of the original claim that was denied.
What is Agent Orange?
Agent Orange was used by the U.S. military to defoliate the jungles of Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea. This herbicide was tested, sprayed, and kept in other places, which means that many people were exposed that served in both combat and non-combat roles. Sadly, it was later determined that Agent Orange was extremely toxic to anyone that was close to it.
Because the effects of Agent Orange can take years to appear, if you develop a disease even decades after your service, you can still file a claim for VA compensation. By proving you were exposed to Agent Orange during your services and that you have a medical condition associated with exposure, the VA must grant service connected compensation.
What are the Agent Orange “Presumptive Diseases?”
Many health conditions are associated with Agent Orange, and the VA regularly adds new conditions to the list of “presumptive diseases.” These “presumptive diseases” are those that the VA assumes are related to the veteran’s qualifying military service. The veteran does not need to prove that Agent Orange caused the condition.
Because these conditions are updated periodically, it doesn’t hurt to reach out for a free consultation even if your condition is not currently on the list.
As of 5/2020, the list of health conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure includes:
- AL Amyloidosis
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias
A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin
- Hodgkin’s Disease
A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
- Ischemic Heart Disease
A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
- Multiple Myeloma
A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
- Parkinson’s Disease
A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
- Prostate Cancer
Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
- Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS)
VA presumes that ALS diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure.
- VA is currently investigating whether to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinson’s-like symptoms to the list of presumptive conditions. If you suffer from these diseases, please contact us today.
How Can I Prove I Was Exposed to Agent Orange?
Vietnam Veterans – Boots On The Ground
If you served in Vietnam “boots on the ground” between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, you are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. If you have one of the conditions listed above, you should be granted service-connected compensation.
Vietnam Veterans – “Blue Water” Navy
Veterans that served on boats in the “brown water” rivers and tributaries of Vietnam were always considered to have been exposed to Agent Orange. Unfortunately, for years those on ships in the “blue water” deep waters off the coast were not.
Fortunately, in January 2019 it was ruled that Blue Water Navy Veterans that were generally located within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam are now considered to have presumptively been exposed to Agent Orange just as the “boots on the ground” veterans are.
You should file for service-connected disability as soon as possible to obtain the earliest start date of your benefit.
Vietnam Veterans – Thailand
There is no presumptive connection for veterans that served in Thailand, but the VA concedes that veterans stationed at particular Thai Air Force bases from January 9, 1962 through May 7, 1975 may have been exposed to Agent Orange.
Korean Conflict Veterans – Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
If you served on or near the DMZ between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971, you will likely be presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange if you served in one of the units the VA and Department of Defense considers to have served on or near the DMZ.
These planes were used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam. Afterward, they were used by the Air Force in the United States. This means that veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange even if they were never in Vietnam, Korea, or Thailand. If you served in one of the units where one of these C-123s were assigned and had regular exposure to the plane between 1969 and 1986, the VA will presume you were exposed to the chemical. This applies to reservists as well.
When to Contact Golowin Legal
- You were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, Korea, or Thailand during service in the United States Military, and
- You have a medical diagnosis of cancer or one of the other presumptive conditions listed above, and
- Your claim has been denied by the VA.
If the veteran has passed away and you are a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a Vietnam veteran that previously filed a claim for VA compensation that was denied, be sure to contact Golowin Legal. You may be entitled to be paid many years of retroactive VA benefits.