No definitive evidence shows that Agent Orange can cause schizophrenia as of 2019.
That said, studies on Agent Orange and its harmful effects are ongoing, and over the years, researchers have linked the herbicide to more and more illnesses, many of them serious and even life-threatening.
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Why Agent Orange Is Dangerous
Agent Orange is a pesticide formerly used by the United States military. The military used Agent Orange to clear foliage and strip trees and plants of their leaves during the Vietnam War and in several other operations. The purpose of clearing plants and trees was to kill food crops and deny enemy fighters places to lie in wait for American soldiers.
While the herbicide was effective at rooting out enemy cover, Agent Orange was associated with dangerous diseases. It was not until much later that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) linked Agent Orange to several diseases, from skin issues to lung diseases.
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Eligibility for VA Disability Based on Agent Orange Exposure
To be eligible for VA disability benefits based on Agent Orange exposure, you must meet two requirements. One, you must have an injury or illness that the VA has acknowledged is associated with the exposure. As of 2019, schizophrenia is not on the list, but the list continues to grow. The second requirement is that you served in a time and place where the military used Agent Orange. These service locations of Agent Orange exposure include:
- In Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975;
- In or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971;
- On Thailand military bases between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975;
- On C-123 airplanes flown during and after the war;
- On Navy or Coast Guard ships near Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975;
- In testing and storage areas in or near Vietnam, the U.S., or other areas;
- In waters in or near Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.
If you served in any of these capacities and have not looked into VA disability benefits, it is worth your time to do so. Your VA disability lawyer can examine your medical records and may be able to connect something to your exposure, resulting in a grant of benefits.
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Medical Conditions Associated with Agent Orange Exposure
There are several negative effects associated with exposure to Agent Orange for which VA presumes service connection. Presumed service connection means you do not need to establish a link between your military service and your condition. VA does it for you. These conditions include:
- AL amyloidosis
- Chronic B-cell leukemias
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
- 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
- Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
- Soft tissue sarcoma (not including osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
If you experience any of the above conditions, seek medical help immediately. A detailed medical record is essential for building a strong case for benefits. Furthermore, a veterans benefits lawyer can help identify the health problems for which VA presumes service connection and advise on your next steps to access financial help.
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Receiving VA Disability for Schizophrenia
If you served in the military and later developed schizophrenia, you will not be able to obtain benefits based on presumed service connection for Agent Orange exposure. However, you can still qualify for VA disability benefits based on your diagnosis. To get approved, you must be able to establish that your schizophrenia began during service or that your psychoses (associated with your schizophrenia) began during service or within one year after your military discharge.
The three requirements to qualify for VA disability are:
- A diagnosis of a “ratable” injury or illness — ratable means it is eligible to receive a VA disability rating;
- A specific event that occurred during your military service and caused you to suffer injury or trauma or in-service onset of your condition
- A nexus between the event (or onset) and your diagnosis.
Your VA disability lawyer can review your military and medical records. They can help you gather supporting documentation and build a case that proves you qualify for benefits.
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To Receive a Free VA Disability Consultation, Call (888) 392-5392 Today
If you developed schizophrenia or any other disabling medical condition during or after serving in the military, you may be eligible for VA disability, and a lawyer can help you get it. For veterans’ disability legal help, call (888) 392-5392 NOW! The initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless you obtain your disability benefits.*
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