As a Vietnam War veteran, you have a story to tell. Often, that story includes Agent Orange exposure.
In fact, so many Vietnam veterans like yourself were exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange that by the 1980s and 1990s, widespread health issues among veterans caused serious public concern. In response, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The Act established a “presumption of service connection.”
This action meant that Vietnam veterans like you could get help for Agent Orange-related health problems. It also meant that VA must presume that veterans who served during certain time periods in certain locations were exposed to Agent Orange.
Veterans also no longer had to prove that they were actually exposed. If a veteran had a condition on the VA’s Agent Orange presumptive list of conditions, they could obtain benefits.
If you’re a Vietnam veteran experiencing serious health issues and you think you may have been exposed to Agent Orange, contact a VA disability lawyer today.
Our team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys handles claims like yours all across Indiana and beyond. We can help explain the complex process of filing an Agent Orange claim. We want to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Eligibility for Agent Orange Benefits
Unfortunately, having a condition on the Agent Orange presumptive list of conditions is not enough. A veteran must also show they meet any of the following eligibility criteria.
In addition to having a medical record of one of the Agent Orange presumptive conditions, you’ll need to show:
- Vietnam War service between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975;
- Service in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971;
- Service aboard a U.S. military vessel that entered the inland waterways of Vietnam;
- Service aboard a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward of the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975; or
- Exposure to herbicides in a location other than Vietnam or the DMZ, such as by loading, transporting, or storing them while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Certain Vietnam veterans who operated out of specific Thai Air Force bases may also be eligible. The full set of eligibility requirements is on the VA website. An experienced VA disability lawyer can help you understand whether you meet these criteria.
Agent Orange Presumptive List
The Agent Orange presumptive list is the list of conditions that the VA typically presumes were caused by Agent Orange exposure. The Secretary of the VA has the authority to periodically add conditions. Conditions are usually added if many veterans present for treatment with that same condition.
Here’s the current VA Agent Orange presumptive list and the year each condition was added to the list. We’ve also included a brief explanation of the conditions so you can understand if they may apply to you.
The Agent Orange presumptive diseases include:
|Disease and Explanation||Year First Included|
On Agent Orange Presumptive List
|AL amyloidosis—rare disease caused when an abnormal protein enters tissues or organs||2006|
|Chronic B-cell leukemias—a type of cancer affecting white blood cells||2003|
|Chloracne—skin condition that looks similar to acne seen in teenagers and occurs after chemical exposure||1991|
|Diabetes mellitus type 2—high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to insulin||2001|
|Hodgkin’s disease—cancer characterized by enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and anemia||1994|
|Ischemic heart disease—a disorder characterized by chest pain and reduced supply of blood to the heart||2010|
|Multiple myeloma—a type of white blood cancer||2016|
|Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—cancers affecting the lymph glands and tissues||1991|
|Parkinson’s disease—progressive nervous system disorder affecting muscle movement||2010|
|Peripheral neuropathy (early-onset)—nervous system condition causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness||2013|
|Porphyria cutanea tarda—liver dysfunction disorder characterized by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas;||1994|
|Prostate cancer—cancer of the prostate, which is one of the most common cancers among men||2013|
|Respiratory cancers—cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus||1994|
|Soft tissue sarcomas—different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues (excludes osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and mesothelioma)||1991|
The VA website provides comprehensive information on each condition. If you have questions about the Agent Orange presumptives, check with your doctor or the VA. If you’ve been denied benefits now or in the past, contact a member of the Gerling Law Injury Attorneys team.
Presumptive Diseases Agent Orange Update 2022
As Vietnam veterans age and become sicker, the impacts of Agent Orange on human health become clearer. As previously mentioned, the Secretary of the VA periodically updates the list of Agent Orange presumptive conditions.
Sometimes, if the Secretary of the VA does not think there is sufficient evidence to add a condition, Congress gets involved. Only the Secretary of the VA or an act of Congress can add conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive list. In the last year or so, three new conditions were added by act of Congress:
|Bladder Cancer—cancer affecting the bladder||2021|
|Hypothyroidism—thyroid gland does not produce enough important hormones||2021|
|Parkinsonism—any condition that causes a combination of abnormal movements, including slow movements, trouble speaking, stiff muscles, or tremors||2021|
While these three new conditions will undoubtedly help many veterans get the benefits they deserve, hundreds more may still be suffering. If you have a condition that you think may have been caused by Agent Orange, be sure to obtain your treatment at the VA.
If you can, participate in studies like the Vietnam Era Health Retrospective Observational Study, which helps identify common conditions among Vietnam veterans. Doing these things may strengthen your claims for benefits and help others in the process.
Other Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions
Children with Birth Defects
If your children were born with birth defects, these conditions may be presumed to be due to your service. Veterans of the Vietnam and Korean Wars should check with a VA disability lawyer to confirm eligibility. You may be able to claim benefits for yourself and your child with a birth defect because of your presumed chemical exposure.
Veterans with Lou Gehrig’s Disease
If you had 90 days or more of continuous active service, the VA presumes Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) is related to your service. ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure, but this is still a VA presumed condition and worth mentioning.
If you’ve had exposure to Agent Orange and have an Agent Orange presumptive condition, you may also present with Lou Gerhig’s disease. It’s important to understand all the benefits you may be entitled to.
How Gerling Law Injury Attorneys Can Help
Navigating VA claims can be complex, but the right attorney can help you through the process. If your claim is complex or was denied, Gerling Law can help. Our experienced team has helped thousands of veterans just like you handle their Agent Orange claims. Gerling Law’s individual client focus and our tenacity set us apart.
We’re based in Indiana, but we’re qualified to handle VA claims all over the country. Contact us today for a free case consultation.