On November 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that they had begun distributing disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans who qualify for compensation under new expanded Agent Orange exposure rules.
This means that up to 200,000 Vietnam Veterans may now be eligible to receive VA disability compensation for medical conditions recently associated with Agent Orange. The expansion of coverage involves B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease.
According to the VA it will likely take several months for them to begin paying the initial payments or increases to existing payments. As reported on Military.com in March of this year, it is very important for those who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from one of the three diseases to submit their claims as soon as possible.
Adding these conditions to the list of “presumed” Agent Orange illnesses simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits making it so Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war with these conditions will not have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service.
The three new presumed illnesses – B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease – are now added to following list of presumed illnesses:
- Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancers
- Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
- AL Amyloidosis
The VA is encouraging Veterans interested in applying for disability compensation under one of the three new Agent Orange presumptives should go to www.fasttrack.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000.