Veterans who served in Vietnam, Thailand, and the Korean Demilitarized Zone may have been exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange. In fact, many Veterans are still dealing with the repercussions of exposure to the harmful chemical defoliant to this day. One of the common symptoms associated with Agent Orange exposure is Parkinson’s or Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
While Congress added Parkinson’s-like symptoms to the Agent Orange presumptive condition list in 2021, the VA will still need to implement these changes through regulations for Veterans to begin receiving presumptive service connection for the condition.
What are Parkinson’s-like Symptoms?
Parkinson’s like symptoms include a variety of symptoms similar to what a person with Parkinson’s would display. According to Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical research center, Parkinson’s-like symptoms could include:
- Impaired Balance
- Bradykinesia (also known as slowed movement)
- Speech Changes
- Writing Changes
- Rigid Muscles
While these symptoms have been common amongst Vietnam Veterans and others exposed to Agent Orange, the VA never presumed they were caused by exposure to the herbicide. That all changed in 2021 when the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed by Congress. The bill added three conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive condition list, including Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
What is the Agent Orange Presumptive Condition List?
The negative side effects of Agent Orange exposure are widely known. They can lead to a myriad of health problems in the future, and many Veterans are dealing with these health problems today. In fact, some medical conditions are so common among Veterans exposed to Agent Orange that the VA created a list of illnesses it presumes are caused by Agent Orange. Now, Parkinson’s-like symptoms is included on the list.
Normally, Veterans will need to prove three things to get service connection for a health condition. They need to prove:
- They have a current medical diagnosis for their disability
- There was an event, injury, or illness in-service
- They have a medical nexus linking the current disability to the in-service event, injury, or illness
When conditions are added to a presumptive condition list, it removes the third item in the list above. Veterans no longer need to get a medical nexus linking their Parkinson’s-like symptoms to service. This is because the VA presumes it was caused by service. More specifically, this is because the VA presumes it was caused by Agent Orange exposure.
How Do I get Parkinson’s-like Symptoms Service Connected?
Service connection is a term used by the VA to describe a disability that is linked to service. All disabilities must be service connected for the VA to grant you disability compensation for the condition(s). Since Parkinson’s-like symptoms are now on the Agent Orange presumptive condition, however, Veterans will only need to prove two elements to receive service connection.
- They have a current medical diagnosis for Parkinson’s-like symptoms
- They were exposed to Agent Orange in service
If a Veteran can prove both of the items listed above, the VA should grant them disability compensation for the condition.
What Happens if My Claim was Denied?
Unfortunately, the VA sometimes makes mistakes when looking at a Veteran’s VA disability claim. This actually happens quite often, and it is the main reason we help Veterans appeal unfavorable VA decisions. While it may be disheartening to see your VA claim denied, that doesn’t mean the fight is over.
The next step in the VA claims process is an appeal. You can appeal the VA’s denial to grant service connection. This is when the attorneys at Berry Law step in. We can work on your claim to figure out why the claim was denied, what evidence we need to submit to get it approved, and which lane is best suited for your appeal.
America’s Veterans Law Firm
Berry Law is America’s Veterans Law Firm. We have helped Veterans in their fight for VA disability compensation for over 20 years. Our team is comprised of Veterans from all branches, and we have over 300 years of military service on our team. We’ve served alongside Veterans like yourself, and we are dedicated to helping all Veterans get the disability compensation they deserve.
If you need assistance appealing your VA claim related to Agent Orange and Parkinson’s-like symptoms, we may be able to help. Give us a call today at 888-883-2483 to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team.