Veterans Entitled to VA Benefits for Exposure to Agent Orange

Veterans who served in Vietnam or Korea and who have since developed cancer may be entitled to receive VA disability compensation without having to prove a connection between their disease and military service.

Agent Orange was a chemical mixture used during the Vietnam and Korean War to remove forest cover, destroy crops and remove vegetation from U.S. bases. The chemical was dispersed by planes, helicopters, boats, ground vehicles and individual soldiers. All told, between 1962 and 1971, U.S. forces sprayed roughly 20 million gallons of Agent Orange over 3.6 million acres of Vietnamese land. Incidentally, thousands of service members were exposed to this toxic chemical.

In 1994, the Institute of Medicine published an influential study on the adverse health effects caused by exposure to Agent Orange. This study identified an association between exposure to Agent Orange and certain respiratory cancers. The Department of Veteran's Affairs has adopted the study's findings and as such, take the position that exposure to Agent Orange is linked to the following illnesses: B cell leukemia, Parkinson's disease, ischemic heart disease, AL amyloidosis, chloracne, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, diabetes mellitus type II, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, porphoria cutanea tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers and soft tissue sarcoma.

Veterans who served in either Vietnam or Korea and were exposed to Agent Orange may be eligible for a free, comprehensive Agent Orange Registry Health Exam performed by the VA. If this exam, or one performed by your own medical doctor, finds that you suffer from any of the diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange, you may be eligible to collect disability payments and health care.

If you are a widow(er) or child of a veteran that served in Vietnam or Korea and the veteran passed away from one of the illnesses mentioned above, or the illness contributed to the cause of death, you may be entitled to a monthly stipend and medical insurance through the VA. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has more information for eligible veterans and family members.

Do you need an attorney to obtain these benefits? NO

You do not need to retain an attorney in order to obtain the benefits associated with exposure to Agent Orange. However, you will need to apply to the VA in order to obtain these benefits. This process alone can be long, complicated and frustrating. An experienced attorney can help you through this process. Additionally, there are many Veterans service organizations that can provide this support free of charge. If your claim for benefits is denied, than you should seek the services of an attorney to appeal your claim before the Board of Veterans Appeals.

As a fellow veteran, I am all too familiar with the complexities associated with dealing with the VA, so if you are a qualifying veteran or surviving family member that is not comfortable going through this process alone, please call me for a free consultation.

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