Veterans Affairs research shows the military sprayed over 20 million gallons of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. This practice exposed over 2.7 million veterans to the harmful chemical.
While most Agent Orange exposures relate to the Vietnam War, others happened in Thailand and the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Are you a Kentucky resident who was in active service when the military used this pesticide? If so, a Kentucky Agent Orange exposure lawyer could help you recover compensation for related disabilities.
How to Get VA Benefits for Agent Orange Exposure
Upon pursuing benefits for Agent Orange, VA will investigate your deployment during your years of service. This process will help it identify if you were in a specific location during a particular time frame. It will also confirm if you worked at the military bases used to store Agent Orange.
Once VA confirms this information from your service record, it might request additional evidence. For instance, it may ask for medical records indicating your health status.
VA will then review its list of presumptive conditions to determine whether your health issue results from the exposure. If yes, it will assign a disability rating based on your situation, allowing you to claim various benefits.
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The Benefits You Can Receive for Agent Orange Exposure
VA provides veterans with an Agent Orange exposure-related disability a broad range of benefits. For example, you could receive monthly compensation if it approves your claim. However, the exact amount you could receive will vary based on various factors.
For instance, if you get a high disability rating, you will receive more money than a veteran with a lower rating. In addition, VA will increase your payment if you have more dependents.
Other benefits you could receive due to a disability triggered by Agent Orange exposure include:
- Grants or loans for a specially adapted home
- Property tax waivers
- Clothing allowance
- Life insurance
- Readjustment counseling
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Medical Conditions Linked to Agent Orange Exposure
Agent Orange contains two chemicals that produce a harmful toxin upon mixing. Exposure to this substance can affect the brain, triggering or worsening mental health issues like dementia. Other conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure are:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Diabetes mellitus (type 2)
- Respiratory cancers
- Soft tissue sarcomas
Agent Orange exposure can trigger conditions that permanently affect movement. For example, Parkinson’s disease leads to gradually losing the ability to move body parts. It may be challenging to handle everyday tasks if you have such a condition.
Therefore, you may need full-time care from your loved ones or caregivers. VA might cover hiring a licensed caregiver if you have a total disability triggered by Agent Orange exposure. It will also help you buy assistive medical devices to improve stability and facilitate movement.
VA Does Not Cover All Conditions Related to Agent Orange Exposure
Since there is limited medical information about the exact connection between various health issues and Agent Orange exposure, VA does not compensate some. Therefore, it is vital to determine the health issues Veterans Affairs approves before filing a claim.
Moreover, you can consult a disability lawyer to evaluate if VA now recognizes conditions it declined in the past. Taking this precaution will help you file for a decision review to reconsider your case. You can also receive retroactive benefits depending on when you received a diagnosis.
Total Disability Individual Unemployability Rating for Agent Orange Exposure
Some health issues associated with Agent Orange exposure can severely affect your health. As a result, you might be unable to work or abide by the policies in different workplaces. In addition, if your service-connected disability affects employability, you may qualify for a Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) rating from VA.
This rating will help you get all the benefits available to veterans with a 100% disability, irrespective of your rating. For example, you may enjoy property tax exemptions up to a specific limit and income tax waivers on your pension. Other benefits you could get are:
- Free Space-A flights
- Discounted fishing and hunting licenses
- Free residence in nursing homes
When pursuing a TDIU rating from the VA, you could request a decision review process. After that, present documents showing that your health status rendered you unemployable. If VA finds your medical records satisfactory, it might assign you a TDIU rating. If not, it might require you to undergo a compensation and pension exam to gauge your status.
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What to Do if VA Denies Agent Orange Disability Benefits
Sometimes, VA can deny your claim for a disability associated with Agent Orange due to various reasons. For example, you will not receive any benefits if VA does not recognize the link between your condition and the substance. In addition, it might deny the claim if you did not provide enough medical records for your diagnosis.
Other reasons VA can deny an Agent Orange claim are:
- You submitted incorrect forms
- You provided inadequate information
- There is no record showing you came into contact with Agent Orange
If VA denies your claim, you could consult a Kentucky Agent Orange exposure lawyer. They can help you identify the aspect that may have voided your initial claim. In addition, they would assess if you presented sufficient evidence.
After the evaluation, the attorney will help you prepare for a decision review process. This procedure will involve selecting a suitable option from the three provided by the VA.
Once you file for a review, VA will reassess your case to determine if you deserve a different ruling. Then, it will send a decision letter—generally within four months to a year, depending on the process you used.
Contact a Kentucky Agent Orange Exposure Lawyer Today
Claiming Agent Orange exposure benefits without legal guidance can complicate the process. Further, it might lead to mistakes that affect the credibility of your case, causing you to lose the claim. A disability lawyer can help you seek rightful compensation from VA.
An attorney can review your initial claim and push for a compensation and pension exam. They will also answer your questions regarding veterans’ law and represent you during the decision review process. Call today for a case assessment.