The effects of Agent Orange often take years to appear. But there is always time to apply for benefits.
Concerns about the herbicide’s link to congenital disabilities first surfaced when veterans returned home with kids who had missing limbs or other abnormalities that didn’t run in their families.
Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic heart disease is one of several conditions the VA presumes are caused by Agent Orange exposure. Veterans must meet specific criteria to qualify for these presumptive benefits.
The military sprayed these toxic herbicides in a demilitarized zone from 1962 to 1971. Veterans who served in those areas may be eligible for a free Agent Orange Registry health exam and compensation for these long-term effects. Moreover, the compensation for Agent Orange exposure aims to provide financial support and healthcare benefits to veterans affected by the herbicide’s adverse health effects during their service.
Children born to veterans exposed to Agent Orange may have congenital disabilities. Researchers found the odds of having a child with a congenital disability were 30 percent higher for those who handled, sprayed, or otherwise had direct contact with the herbicide.
Biological children with congenital disabilities can qualify for presumptive disability benefits from the VA, including compensation and healthcare and vocational training.
Several types of cancer have been linked to Agent Orange. Veterans diagnosed with these conditions can qualify for service connection presumptively.
Research in epigenetics has found that chemical exposure can affect multiple generations. This is known as transgenerational toxication or genotoxicity.
Blue Water Navy Veterans, those who served on ships in inland waters near the Vietnam and Cambodian demarcation lines or who were stationed at other locations where Agent Orange was used, may be eligible for compensation.
Over 3 million Vietnam-era veterans were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides. Since then, scientists have learned that these chemicals can cause long-term health problems.
In 2020, a Congressional Act made Blue Water Navy veterans eligible for Agent Orange benefits. The 2021 NDAA also added hyperthyroidism to the list of presumptive conditions caused by Agent Orange exposure. This means that veterans do not have to prove their hypothyroidism is service-connected.
Chloracne, a skin condition that resembles regular acne, is associated with the Agent Orange defoliant. VA considers it a presumptive disease for Veterans exposed to the herbicide in Vietnam or near the DMZ in Korea.
An analysis of data found that children of veterans who reported handling or being directly sprayed with Agent Orange had higher rates of congenital disabilities than those whose parents said they weren’t exposed or weren’t sure.
Several skin conditions are linked to Agent Orange exposure, including chloracne and porphyria cutanea tarda. To qualify for presumptive VA benefits, these conditions must be diagnosed within one year of exposure and found at least 10% disabling.
New research shows that chemical exposure can change the expression of genes in the fetus, leading to congenital disabilities and other diseases. This is known as epigenetics.
A skilled VA-accredited attorney could help you understand the long-term impact of your exposure to Agent Orange and take advantage of available benefits.
The VA now presumes that ischemic heart disease is related to Agent Orange exposure. However, veterans with the condition must still pass an additional bureaucratic hurdle by providing a direct service connection. Hypertension is also on the presumptive list, as is bladder cancer and hypothyroidism.
The VA considers hypertension to be a presumptive condition for Veterans who served in Vietnam or near locations where Agent Orange was stored. Hypothetical situations automatically qualify veterans for benefits without requiring extensive medical evidence.
Health advocates have been pushing to add hypertension to the list of presumptive conditions. If this happens, it could open up disability payments to more Veterans.
Diabetes is a common condition that affects many veterans. Those who suffer from the disease are at a higher risk of obesity and have a higher rate of Agent Orange exposure.
The ailment is linked to dioxin, a harmful chemical in the herbicide used in Vietnam. In 2021, a Congressional act added bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the list of conditions presumed to be linked to Agent Orange.
VA has recognized several diseases as presumptive to Agent Orange exposure. This simplifies qualifying for compensation by eliminating the need to prove direct service connection, as long as you show that you were exposed and that the exposure caused your disease.
Ischemic heart disease, soft tissue sarcomas, and diabetes are among these presumptive conditions. Other conditions linked to Agent Orange include congenital disabilities like spina bifida and other nervous system disorders.