Veterans and their families may be interested in the story of a retired Air Force veteran who was granted disability benefits for his Agent Orange-related health issues. This marks the first time that the VA awards a retired veteran compensation prior to an appeals board decision.
In the past, Agent Orange disability claims were generally subject to a blanket denial. Those who served aboard C-123K aircraft in the Air Force would have to appeal the denial, and some would have disability benefits granted by the Board of Veterans Appeals. Exposure to the herbicide known as Agent Orange, which can cause chronic leukemia and other cancers, was one of the “occupational hazards” inherent in working on the C-123K.
The veteran who was awarded these benefits is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He suffers from cancer of the prostate, pelvis and ribs. Evidence that he provided to Veterans Affairs suggests that he was, indeed, exposed to Agent Orange. As a result, benefits were awarded, which will greatly help his wife after his death, according to reports. This is the first time that such benefits were awarded before the case went before the appeals board. Supporters of service members’ disability claims are encouraging those exposed to Agent Orange receive the same disability compensation given to other Vietnam veterans.
The health effects of Agent Orange exposure can be devastating to those who were members of the Armed Services during the Vietnam War. An attorney who is experienced in filing and appealing claims for Agent Orange exposure may be able to help get the disability compensation necessary to begin recovering from the medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of the ability to work that can result from it.
Source: FOX News, “VA does about-face, gives Agent Orange disability benefit to Air Force veteran”, August 11, 2013.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.