Hundreds of thousands of Veterans have received VA disability compensation benefits due to Agent Orange exposure. Despite this success, the full ramifications of Agent Orange exposure are still being studied, and many Veterans may qualify for new Agent Orange benefits due to the PACT Act.
Read on to learn how to apply for Agent Orange benefits if you don’t already have them, plus additional information about Agent Orange benefits eligibility.
Agent Orange is an herbicide the US military previously used as a tactical agent. Specifically, the government used it to remove hazardous or impeding vegetation during military options in the Vietnam War.
Many Vietnam Veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange during their active duty. Unfortunately, Agent Orange has also been linked to many health conditions and long-term illnesses.
Agent Orange herbicide exposure has been linked to service-connected medical conditions including but not limited to:
● Hodgkin’s disease
● Spina bifida
● AL Amyloidosis
● Type II diabetes mellitus
● Parkinson’s disease
● Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
● Chronic B-Cell Leukemia
● Ischemic heart disease
● Multiple myeloma
● Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
● Peripheral neuropathy
● Prostate cancer
● Respiratory cancers
● Soft tissue sarcomas
● Bladder cancer
● High blood pressure or hypertension
Because Agent Orange has been linked to so many health conditions, the VA classifies many of them as “presumptive conditions.” In a nutshell, these are conditions assumed to have come from Agent Orange if a Veteran served in the Vietnam War and under certain circumstances.
The PACT Act, passed in 2022, added two presumptive conditions and five Agent Orange presumptive locations, which now qualify additional Vietnam War Veterans for compensation due to Agent Orange exposure.
Suppose you are eligible for Agent Orange disability compensation. In that case, you could receive a monthly monetary benefit to help you pay for medical bills and to compensate you due to your military service.
You are only eligible for disability compensation based on exposure to Agent Orange if you meet both of these requirements:
● You are a U.S. Military Veteran with a health condition that a VA health care provider presumes is caused or aggravated by exposure to Agent Orange.
● You served in a location where you may presumably have been exposed to Agent Orange during the Korea or Vietnam era conflicts, for example.
Let’s take a look at the first requirement in more detail.
First, you must have a health condition or disability that is under the list of Agent Orange presumptive diseases. You can check out the full list of presumptive diseases and conditions on the VA website, which includes all the conditions described above.
If you have a disease or health condition that you believe was still caused or aggravated by Agent Orange exposure which is not on the presumptive condition list, you can still file a claim for benefits from the VA. That said, you’ll need to provide medical evidence showing the condition is related to Agent Orange for the claim to be successful.
Now, let’s look at the second requirement for Agent Orange benefits.
You are eligible for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure if you meet the below service requirements:
● You served in the military between the dates of January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
● AND you served in the Republic of Vietnam aboard a US military vessel that operated in inland waterways of Vietnam or on a vessel that operated no more than 12 nautical miles away from the demarcation line of the waters of Cambodia and Vietnam
Alternatively, at least one of the below circumstances must have been true during your military service:
● You served in or near the Korean DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971
● You were on active duty at an Air Force unit location where a C-123 aircraft that carried Agent Orange was assigned or landed
● You were involved in testing, storing, or using Agent Orange at any point during your military service
The PACT Act was passed in 2022 and added two presumptive conditions for Agent Orange benefits. These are high blood pressure or hypertension and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or MGUS.
In addition, the PACT Act added five presumptive locations for Veterans who may have sustained health conditions because of Agent Orange exposure. These include the below qualifications:
● You served at any US or Royal Thai military base in Thailand between the dates of January 9, 1962, and June 30, 1976
● You served in Laos between December 1, 1965, and September 30, 1969
● You served in Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province, between April 16, 1969, through April 30, 1969
● You served in Guam or American Samoa or their territorial waters between January 9, 1962, through July 31, 1980
● You served at Johnston Atoll on a ship that called there between January 1, 1972, and September 30, 1977
Ultimately, the PACT Act allows more military Veterans to receive disability compensation for their health conditions or injuries based on Agent Orange exposure.
If you qualify for Agent Orange based on the above eligibility limitations, you can file a claim for Agent Orange disability benefits online.
Alternatively, you can apply for disability benefits over the phone. If you call the VA, one of their representatives or agents will help you step-by-step. You can also visit a regional VA office and apply for disability benefits in person.
Filling out a claim for disability compensation requires completing VA Form 21-526EZ.
Thanks to the PACT Act, thousands of Veterans can now acquire Agent Orange-related disability benefits even if they were denied compensation. If you have previously submitted a claim for an Agent Orange-related condition and were denied, you can file a supplemental claim to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to review your case and consider this new information.
To do this, you’ll need a evidence that shows you plausibly were exposed to Agent Orange during your military service (effectively showing you were in the military and serving at one of the above locations). You’ll also need to show medical records indicating that you have a presumptive condition related to Agent Orange exposure.
Gathering evidence to substantiate an Agent Orange disability benefits claim process is one of the toughest aspects of getting the VA disability benefits you deserve.
Experienced Veterans law attorneys can help you through this process step-by-step. We help you find your service records, have the VA acquire more records, and communicate with your healthcare provider so that you recover the necessary records to prove the symptoms and diagnosis of your health condition.
You may also gather lay statements from yourself and friends, family members, and fellow servicemembers. Lay statements help substantiate your claims by acting as eyewitness accounts of your symptoms, difficulties, and how your disabilities affect your day-to-day life.
If you have a disease that isn’t on the presumptive condition list for Agent Orange exposure, you may still be able to recover VA compensation for it.
However, you’ll need to provide:
● Evidence that indicates the problems started during your military service
● Evidence that indicates your problems got worse because of your military service
● Medical evidence that indicates your condition is plausibly caused or aggravated by Agent Orange
The last kind of evidence can include articles from medical journals, published research studies, and other resources. Suppose you don’t know where to start. In that case, Veterans law attorneys at Berry Law can begin the search and browse through all available medical literature to see whether your condition is tied to Agent Orange exposure.
If you aren’t sure whether your condition qualifies you for Agent Orange benefits, you can contact us immediately. We’ll break down your legal options, help you understand what Agent Orange benefits entail, and ensure that you make the right path for your financial future.
Applying for Agent Orange benefits through the VA is easier with knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys on your side. At Berry Law, we’re committed to helping America’s Veterans recover the compensation they deserve for their heroic service to our nation. You’ve already done your part, so let us do ours.
When you contact us today, we’ll offer a free consultation and be able to help you apply for Agent Orange benefits – and any other disability benefits you may be entitled to – step-by-step.
Agent Orange Exposure And VA Disability Compensation | Veterans Affairs
The PACT Act And Your VA Benefits | Veterans Affairs
File for disability compensation with VA Form 21-526EZ | Veterans Affairs
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