Veterans Disability for Agent Orange Exposure

An eligible veteran may apply for disability benefits based on Agent Orange exposure if two (or, possibly three) requirements are met:

  1. the veteran served in Vietnam sometime during the period January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975, or along the Korean DMZ sometime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971;
  2. the veteran currently has one of the diseases, or residuals of one of the diseases, recognized by the VA as being linked to Agent Orange exposure to a disabling degree of 10 percent or more;
  3. and (3) for some of the recognized non-cancer diseases, the disease manifested itself within a certain time period from the last day of service in Vietnam.

Vietnam veterans, and some veterans who served along the Korean DMZ, do not need to prove actual exposure to Agent Orange. or any other herbicide, during their service to qualify for presumptive service connection. Veterans need only show that they were physically present for at least one minute during these time periods.

Veterans satisfy the Vietnam service requirement if they can prove they set foot on land in Vietnam or were on a ship that served on the inland waterways of Vietnam.

As of 2012, the diseases recognized by VA as connected to Agent Orange include:

Cancer of the Bronchus
Cancer of the Larynx
Lung Cancer
Prostrate Cancer
Cancer of the Trachea

Hodgkin’s Disease
Multiple Myeloma
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
All Chronic B-Cell Leukemia
Some soft tissue sarcomas

AL Amyloidosis (also known as Primary Amyloidosis)

Ischemic Heart Disease( including, but not limited to: acute, subacute and old myocardia infarction; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (including coronary spasm) and coronary bypass surgery; and stable, unstable and Prinzmetals’ angina).

Parkinson’s Disease
Type 2 Diabetes (also known as adult-onset diabetes, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and type II diabetes mellitus)

Peripheral Neuropathy (acute or subacute)
Porphycutanea tarda

Spina bifida (the veteran’s biological child must have been conceived after veteran first arrived in Vietnam, or first arrived in Korea, during the covered period of service.

Certain birth defects in children of female Vietnam veterans (child must have been conceived after veteran first arrived in Vietnam).

Vietnam veterans may also qualify for secondary service connection benefits. A veteran is entitled to service connection for a disease, disability or injury that is caused or aggravated by a service-connected condition. A veteran who qualifies for service connection for one of the primary diseases listed above is also entitled to service connection benefits for all other diseases, disabilities or injuries that are not included in the above list, but that result from or are aggravated by the diseases listed above. For example, the most common complications of type 2 diabetes (arteriosclerosis, cataracts, hypertenstion, heart attack, and stroke) would most likely qualify for secondary service connected benefits.

Any veteran who was previously denied disability benefits by the VA for Agent Orange related conditions should file a new application for the same benefits under these new (1993-2010) regulations.

If you believe that you may have a claim, or if you previously filed a claim and were denied, the Law Office of Sonya L. Pence stands ready and prepared to assist you and your family to receive the disability benefits you rightly deserve.