Many vets unaware of compensation for Agent Orange-related disabilities
By Tammy Walters
Oneida County Veterans Service Officer
Agent Orange is the name given to a blend of herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1961 to 1971 to remove plants and leaves from foliage in Vietnam that provided enemy cover. Agent Orange itself is not a disability and cannot be claimed as one but it can cause disabilities.
Veterans may be eligible for service-connected disability compensation for diseases the VA has recognized as associated with exposure to Agent Orange if they served in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962–May 7, 1975; veterans who served in certain areas in Thailand between Feb. 28, 1961–May 7, 1975; veterans who served in or near the DMZ in Korea between 1968-1969, and “brown water” Navy veterans may also be eligible.
The presumed disabilities are:
•Acute and Sub-acute Peripheral Neuropathy
•Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
•Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
•Ischemic heart disease
•Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
Additionally, any secondary conditions that are caused by one of the aforementioned conditions can also be claimed as service-connected disabilities. For example, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 is a condition that has many other conditions attributed to it such as strokes, kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, and erectile dysfunction. In order to claim these secondary conditions, they must be noted in your medical record and they must be diagnosed at the same time as diabetes or after that diagnosis.
There are still many Vietnam veterans who do not know this information. If you are a Vietnam veteran or know one who might have any of the above conditions, please share this information. It’s never too late to file a claim for a presumed disability.
If you are a widow of a Vietnam veteran who died of any of the conditions listed above, there may be survivor benefits for you even if the veteran wasn’t service connected at the time of his death. If in doubt, please call our office.
Tammy Walters can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or [email protected]. Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at the same number or [email protected]. Or you can contact us via Facebook at www.facebook.com/oneidacvso.