Presumptive Service-Connected Agent Orange Disability Compensation

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:

  • You served on active duty in the military, in the Republic of Vietnam, for at least one day between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
  • You served in Korea between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, in an area in/near the Korean DMZ where herbicides were applied.
  • You served at certain air bases in Thailand, and had a particular occupational specialty.
  • You served with the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, and your ship/boat operated in Vietnam’s inland waterways.

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:

  • Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
  • AL Amyloidosis
  • B-cell Leukemias
  • Chloracne or other acneform diseases similar to chloracne
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Diabetes Type II
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea)
  • Soft-tissue Sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma)

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.

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