Agent Orange was a highly hazardous herbicide that the U.S. military used during the Vietnam War to defoliate heavy jungles and pave the way for an ambush. Veterans who served in the military during this era in regions such as Vietnam, Korea, and Thailand were vulnerable to exposure and effects of this toxic chemical. If you are one of the veterans who suffered disability for having boots on the ground in the period, speak with a South Carolina Agent Orange exposure lawyer to assist you in filing a disability benefits claim.
Agent Orange and U.S. Military History
The Vietnam War lasted for approximately two decades between 1955 and 1975. One of the things from the war that has come to haunt the U.S. military service members several years later is the use of Agent Orange. The chemical Agent Orange was a color-coded herbicide that served as a functional weapon during the Vietnam War and in other regions, including the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), Panama, and the Royal Thai Air Force.
The use of the chemical for test purposes began on August 10, 1961, before its official use from 1962 until 1971. The military utilized the aerial spray for at least 85% of Agent Orange chemicals, using C-123 cargo planes. The remaining percentage was deployed using trucks, helicopters, and hand spray around the enemy’s military camps.
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Causes of Agent Orange’s Dangerous Effects
Most U.S military service members never directly came in contact with the approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange. However, studies show that many service members have suffered the chemical’s dangerous effects as a result of:
- Dumping that caused seeping of the chemical into rivers
- Exposure by navy ships
- Other loopholes that caused the chemical to be stray
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How to File a Disability Claim for Agent Orange Exposure
Being exposed to Agent Orange does not mean you qualify to file a VA disability benefits claim. According to VA, the fact that one has been exposed to the harmful herbicide does not guarantee eligibility for compensation. VA argues that a veteran must have suffered from a medical condition connected to exposure to Agent Orange. The Department of Veterans Affairs awards disability compensation based on the veteran’s condition rather than the situation that led to the illness.
Veterans suffering disabilities emanating from Agent Orange can file a disability claim with VA and receive their deserved benefits. VA notes that veterans with Agent Orange presumptive conditions are eligible for compensation benefits. You can reach out to a South Carolina VA disability lawyer to assist you in the process of filing a VA disability claim.
Eligibility for Agent Orange Exposure Compensation
As already noted, not everyone qualifies to file a VA disability claim for exposure to Agent Orange. VA is keen to compensate veterans for disabilities and medical conditions developed during their military service. These conditions go beyond the effects of Agent Orange. Veterans whose conditions are connected to Agent Orange qualify for presumptive service compensation. These individuals must meet one or more of the following conditions:
- Service in the U.S military deployed in Vietnam and relevant areas between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- Service on C-123 warplanes after the Vietnam War
- Service in the military in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971
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List of VA’s Approved Agent Orange Presumptive Service-Connected Medical Conditions
The Department of Veterans Affairs gives disability benefits for conditions on its approved list. The VA’s 2018 list of conditions and illnesses connected to a veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange during their military service include the following:
- Chronic B-cell leukemias
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- AL amyloidosis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Ischemic heart disease
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Multiple myeloma
- Respiratory cancers
This list is not comprehensive as it has not identified all the VA-approved conditions. You can get a complete list of conditions here. Are you suffering from Agent Orange exposure-related disabling illness or any relevant disease which you feel has not been included in the list? You shouldn’t give up if your condition is missing from the list. VA can still review your application, but you need to provide the following details to determine the condition’s relationship with your military service:
- Proof of diagnostic condition which VA regards as disabling
- Evidence that you were exposed to Agent Orange as per the stipulated conditions and timelines
- Evidence linking the medical condition in question to exposure to Agent Orange
What Evidence does VA Require for Submitted Disability Claims?
You qualify for VA compensation if your underlying disabling medical condition is on VA’s list of diseases due to Agent Orange exposure. However, you need to back up your claim with the following information:
- Evidence for a proper medical diagnosis for the listed condition
- Proof of having served in the military in a capacity that increased your vulnerability to an Agent Orange condition
- Evidence that the condition in question manifested within the set deadlines (speak to your disability attorney about set deadlines applying to your claim)
How do You File an Agent Orange Exposure VA Disability Claim?
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers three methods that veterans can use to file a VA Disability Compensation claim for Agent Orange exposure:
- Using the online application through the va.gov website
- Submitting your application at one of VA’s South Carolina regional offices
- Reaching them through a phone call and getting the help of a VA agent or representative
Contact a South Carolina Agent Orange Exposure Lawyer Today
Would you like to get help on how to go about filing and submitting your Agent Orange exposure disability claim? Please speak to a VA disability lawyer in South Carolina for assistance. It would be best to have an attorney to walk with you on the path to a good VA decision review process. Whether your condition appears on VA’s list or you wish to present evidence for another disabling condition, you can get assistance. Reach out to a lawyer today for guidance in handling any emerging issues. Contact us today.