The V.A. has collected information about Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange for decades. But nobody has looked at it. Concerns about four decades ago began to surface that the herbicide sickened vets and harmed their children. But it would take years to prove a link.
How much does the V.A. pay?
The average VA compensation for Agent Orange related disabilities can vary widely, as it is determined by the specific disability rating assigned to each veteran, making it essential for individuals to go through the VA claims process to receive compensation tailored to their unique circumstances. In addition to compensation for medical expenses, veterans who suffer from certain Agent Orange-related conditions can receive monthly disability payments of up to $42,214 (2022). This figure increases if a veteran is married or has dependents. Several ailments are thought to be caused by Agent Orange exposure on the VA Presumptive List. A veteran must meet basic eligibility requirements to qualify for benefits related to these ailments. For example, hypertension is one of the conditions that is presumed to result from Agent Orange. However, before 1991, the V.A. had required more evidence before granting benefits for this condition. The U.S. military used Agent Orange to clear jungle vegetation in Vietnam. This herbicide contained dioxin, which is believed to cause many diseases. Affected veterans can receive disability compensation, including secondary disabilities and survivor benefits. VA disability lawyers can help you prove eligibility for this important benefit.
How do I qualify for benefits?
If you’re a veteran with a medical condition linked to Agent Orange exposure, you may be eligible for disability compensation. This financial relief is available to veterans with certain disabilities and needs, including various cancers. You also might be able to get a monetary settlement for certain congenital disabilities caused by exposure. An experienced agent or attorney can help determine if you qualify for benefits. The U.S. military used the herbicide Agent Orange to defoliate swaths of land in Vietnam, Korea, and Thailand. However, it later became clear that this powerful herbicide was highly toxic to anyone exposed. Fortunately, thanks to the Honoring Our PACT Act – the biggest veterans benefits bill in history – it’s easier than ever to qualify for these important financial benefits. This law presumptively links your condition to your military service, simplifying and speeding up the process. The VA presumes your illness was caused by exposure to Agent Orange and foregoes the normal proof requirements for these claims.
How long do I have to wait for benefits?
Veterans with certain medical conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure may qualify for compensation. However, the V.A. requires evidence to prove that your current situation was at least as likely as not caused by exposure to Agent Orange during your qualifying military service. In addition, you must be diagnosed with a disease on the list of presumptive conditions. This list is updated periodically as more research shows a connection between these diseases and Agent Orange. The Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 expanded the list of presumptive diseases to include bladder cancer, Parkinson ’s-like symptoms, hypothyroidism, and hypertension. If you have a condition not listed, you can still file for compensation with the V.A. if your doctor believes your exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides causes your disease. This is often a difficult process and requires help from an experienced veteran’s attorney.
What if my claim is denied?
Those with certain medical conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange are eligible for disability compensation. This is a tax-free monthly payment. Location and dates of service determine eligibility. Veterans who served on or near military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam era, at herbicide testing or storage facilities outside of Vietnam, as crew members aboard C-123 planes flown after the war, or with Defense Department projects to test, store or dispose of herbicides in the United States may qualify. Children of exposed veterans with certain birth defects are also allowed. The 2021 NDAA, or National Defense Authorization Act, expanded presumptions to include those who served in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Korean DMZ, American Samoa and Johnston Atoll, as well as active duty and reservists with regular contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft between 1969 and 1986. The NDAA also added bladder cancer, Parkinson ’s-like symptoms and hypothyroidism to the presumptive illnesses caused by Agent Orange exposure. Veterans law attorneys can help build a strong case for eligibility.