VA Expands Coverage for Agent Orange Exposure


Hands holding an American flagVeterans who served in the Korean War or the Vietnam War and who were exposed to the herbicide known as Agent Orange may suffer devastating and life-altering health effects, including cancers, skin conditions, heart and other organ diseases, and reproductive issues.
Expansion of Benefits by VA

In June, the VA amended its regulation regarding benefits associated with Agent Orange exposure to include those veterans and personnel who served in the Air Force or the Air Force Reserve and who would have been exposed to Agent Orange through repeated contact with the C-123 aircrafts used to spray Agent Orange for Operation Ranch Hand during the Vietnam War. A 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine found that between 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force veterans and Air Force reservists were routinely exposed to Agent Orange when they served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on the C-123 planes.

Effect of Amended Regulation

The new regulation provides that veterans who served on the C-123 planes used in Operation Ranch Hand are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange during service, thereby making it easier for these veterans to obtain benefits for conditions or issues caused by Agent Orange exposure. Also, for those personnel serving in the Air Force Reserve who were exposed to Agent Orange during their work with the C-123s, the VA will presume that any conditions related to Agent Orange exposure had onset during Reserve training. This expansion of the regulation is important on two levels: (1) it now provides that reservists are eligible for VA medical care and treatment and disability payments; and (2) it now provides that the reservists’ surviving family members and dependents are eligible for dependency and indemnity payments and burial benefits.

Agent Orange-Related Conditions

If you were exposed to Agent Orange during your service, it is important to know what conditions and diseases are associated with exposure. The VA recognizes the following diseases caused by Agent Orange exposure:

● AL Amyloidosis;

● Chronic B-Cell Leukemias;

● Chloracne;

● Diabetes Mellitus Type 2;

● Hodgkin’s Disease;

● Ischemic Heart Disease;

● Multiple Myeloma;

● Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma;

● Parkinson’s Disease;

● Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset;

● Porphyria Cutanea Tarda;

● Prostate Cancer;

● Respiratory Cancers, including lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus cancers; and

● Soft Tissue Sarcomas.

Also, as mentioned above, the VA presumes that certain birth defects of the children of veterans who served in the Korean War and Vietnam War are associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Speak with a Veterans Disability Attorney Now if you served in the Korean War and/or the Vietnam War, and particularly if you are an Air Force veteran or reservist who worked with the C-123s, and you were exposed to Agent Orange and are experiencing health issues, you are likely entitled to receive benefits from the VA. You should speak with J. Robert Surface, an experienced veterans disability attorney. Mr. Surface has the experience and knowledge to ensure that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. Dealing with the VA can be challenging and frustrating. Let J. Robert Surface fight for you to ensure you obtain your full benefits.