Archive for October, 2017

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Presumptive Service-Connected Agent Orange Disability Compensation

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Agent Orange is a highly toxic herbicide that was used by the US military during the Vietnam War. Colorless, it is known as “Agent Orange” because of an orange band painted on the drums used during storage and transport.

About three million veterans served in Southeast Asia, and no one knows for sure how many of these veterans were exposed to Agent Orange. Some service members were deployed in areas during and immediately after spraying, and others actually handled the chemical. Veterans exposed to Agent Orange have reported a variety of serious health problems and symptoms.

Based upon scientific studies, the VA has developed a list of certain diseases which are presumed to have developed as a result of a veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange during military service. These are known as “presumptive diseases.”

What must you show the VA to qualify for disability compensation?

The VA recognizes the following specific areas and specific times as adequate exposure to Agent Orange for presumptive service-connected disability compensation. You may qualify if:

Which diseases does the VA recognize as linked to herbicide exposure?

You must also have a current diagnosis of one of the diseases found on the VA’s list of conditions linked to herbicide exposure. These include:

What if I do not meet the service requirements?

If you do not meet the service requirements to benefit from the presumption, you may still be entitled to benefits; you will need to have evidence to prove your exposure to Agent Orange during your military service and that you suffer from a condition on the list described above. Additionally, if you develop a condition which is not on the list, you can still get service connection by providing evidence from a doctor that shows the development of your condition is related to Agent Orange exposure.

Have questions? Our team of attorneys and paralegals is standing by to provide answers.

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Vietnam Veterans & PTSD

Monday, October 9th, 2017

PTSD Diagnosis History

The Vietnam War is defined by the VA as the period from February 1961 through May 1975. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health condition which was first recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. This means that, at the time our Veterans were serving in the Vietnam War, PTSD was not a recognized diagnosis. Thus, their service records and even post-service treatment records may not show treatment for or a diagnosis of PTSD.

Since that time, there have been several updates to the understanding, diagnosis, and classification of PTSD. The key factor in a PTSD diagnosis is a traumatic event, also called a “stressor.” In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, the veteran must have been exposed to an event considered traumatic enough to satisfy the “stressor criterion.”

The VA recognizes that this information documenting the occurrence of the stressor may not be in a veteran’s service records. So, the VA has created a special set of rules regarding the ways in which a veteran can prove the stressor occurred.

Evidence of a Stressor

In the following cases, unless there is clear and convicting evidence to the contrary, the veteran’s statements alone can establish the occurrence of the stressor:

Evidence of a Stressor Related to Personal Assault

If the PTSD claim is based on personal assault, the following evidence can be used to establish the occurrence of the stressor:

Additionally, if the veteran’s file is silent for symptoms or treatments for PTSD during or following service, then the veteran and his or her family and friends can submit statements detailing how the veteran acted following the in-service stressor.

Get the Help You Deserve

If you are a Vietnam Veteran or if you are a veteran with questions about what evidence is needed to establish entitlement to disability benefits for PTSD, or the ways in which you can develop the evidence needed to win your case, please contact us today.

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