Over the decades, many Vietnam-era Veterans have received disability compensation and benefits for Agent Orange exposure. Veterans exposed to Agent Orange have a high likelihood of developing one or more serious health complications, including cancer.
If you’re looking to acquire VA disability benefits for Agent Orange for the first time, you might wonder how much you’ll likely receive. Today, let’s take a closer look at the average compensation for Agent Orange disability benefits.
Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide deployed in Vietnam and related conflicts. It allowed the US military to remove vegetation that impeded military maneuvers and campaigns. Agent Orange was highly successful thanks to its primary defoliating chemical, dioxin.
Although Agent Orange was effective in its primary objective, it also caused or aggravated a number of serious health effects in US military Veterans and civilians following exposure. In addition to Vietnam War Veterans, US military personnel serving on certain bases where Agent Orange was stored may also have been intentionally or inadvertently exposed to the substance.
Because of its health risks, Agent Orange was banned in 1971. Still, that hasn’t stopped many Vietnam Veterans from developing health complications after their active duty, sometimes decades after initial exposure.
The VA compensates Veterans for Agent Orange exposure because it quickly became clear that Vietnam War Veterans showcased similar or the same conditions and illnesses upon returning home from conflict. Given the large amount of evidence, the VA was put under intense pressure by Congress and the public to provide disability compensation for these injured Veterans.
Their solution was a presumptive condition list. In a nutshell, this presumptive condition list includes a wide range of illnesses and medical conditions that the VA automatically provides presumptive service connections for if a Veteran with one of these conditions served in Vietnam or in certain areas.
The list of presumptive conditions includes a variety of illnesses, including but not limited to:
In essence, if a US military Veteran has one of the conditions on the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list and are eligible for compensation, they should receive a service connection for their service-connected disability. Then, they can receive monthly compensation from the VA in order to help them pay for medical bills and compensate them for their inability to work.
While the presumptive conditions list did not change very often, in August 2022, the PACT Act came into law, adding new presumptive conditions to the list, including hypertension. This made it much easier for Vietnam-era Veterans to qualify for disability compensation.
However, many Veterans still don’t know how much they should receive in compensation. Things become more difficult when you consider disabilities that feed into each other or disabilities that arise only because of primary military service-connected conditions.
Agent Orange compensation is only available to former service members who were exposed to Agent Orange at some point in the past. Veterans can prove this by looking at their service records, showing records that Agent Orange was deployed or stored at a location where they served, and submitting this evidence in a disability claim with the assistance of Veterans law attorneys.
Furthermore, Veterans are eligible for presumptive benefits if they meet certain service requirements, such as:
The VA maintains a complete list of eligibility requirements for Agent Orange presumptive benefits on its website.
If you aren’t sure whether you qualify, Veterans law attorneys may be able to help. The right lawyer can look at your case and service records, then determine whether you should apply for benefits on the basis of exposure to Agent Orange or on some other basis. This will help your Agent Orange claim be as strong as possible.
Veterans who apply for and receive financial assistance because of Agent Orange exposure and related medical conditions receive that compensation via disability benefits. These disability benefits are given to Veterans on a monthly basis (although some may be awarded in a lump sum because of retroactive pay awards).
As of 2022, single Veterans who qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs compensation from Agent Orange exposure are eligible for up to $39,984 per year. Married Veterans, or Veterans who have eligible dependents, are eligible for $42,214 per year or more.
If you apply for new benefits in the near future, you could receive up to $40,000 a year just in disability compensation.
That depends on a wide range of factors, including:
Regardless, all the benefits you receive are tax-free. To maximize your disability compensation, you should work with Veterans law attorneys like Berry Law.
The right law firm can help you file an effective claim by assisting with evidence gathering and paperwork. An experienced lawyer can ensure that you don’t make any mistakes when you file your claim, as well as shore up any weak spots in your claim so that it stands the best chance of yielding a successful benefits package.
You’ll also need to gather key evidence, such as lay statements from your family members, medical records, and your service records.
You may not receive the average compensation amount for your Agent Orange-related disabilities if you don’t submit enough evidence of your condition or if your disability rating is not as high as you believe it should be. In these cases, you don’t have to give up.
You can appeal the decision that the VA makes for your disability benefits with the assistance of Veterans law attorneys. The appeals process usually involves collecting extra evidence and submitting it for further analysis and consideration by VA benefits agents.
A successful appeal may result in a higher disability rating and enable you to collect additional disability compensation from the VA for your condition(s).
In addition to standard disability benefits, the US military previously had a settlement fund and payment program to compensate Veterans who have health conditions because of Agent Orange. Over its lifespan, the program distributed approximately $197 million to eligible Veterans in cash payments.
However, the Agent Orange settlement fund stopped accepting applications in 1994. Therefore, it’s no longer possible to receive a payout from the settlement fund specifically. Military Veterans who did previously qualify for this fund receive approximately $3800.
Not qualifying for the settlement fund is not a major issue for modern-day Veterans. You’ll be better off applying for standard VA disability compensation and receiving Agent Orange benefits through the regular process.
If you or a loved one are eligible for disability benefits due to Agent Orange-connected medical issues, you may receive approximately $40,000 per year or more. It all depends on the details of your case, whether you have any dependents, and your overall disability rating.
It’s important to maximize your disability rating and file a successful benefits claim. That’s why you should contact knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys like Berry Law. Our experienced legal professionals can help you file a claim, gather evidence, and break down the process from start to finish.
Contact us today to learn more.
Agent Orange Exposure And VA Disability Compensation | Veterans Affairs
Average Compensation For Agent Orange (2023 Guide) | Forbes Advisor
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