Agent Orange was a herbicide blend utilized by the U.S. military in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971 to eliminate vegetation that could conceal enemy forces. Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to many health issues in veterans, including: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. Understanding how to file for VA disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure is crucial for affected veterans seeking compensation and support. In this blog, we will guide you through the necessary steps to file a claim, the evidence required, and tips for a successful application process.

Disabled Veteran

Eligibility for VA Disability Benefits

To qualify for VA disability compensation benefits related to Agent Orange exposure, veterans must meet specific service requirements based on their deployment locations and duties during specific time periods. These requirements establish a presumption of exposure to Agent Orange, facilitating eligibility for benefits. Here are the key service requirements:

Service Requirements for Presumption of Exposure

Vietnam War Era Service

  1. Republic of Vietnam: Veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange.
  2. Inland Waterways of Vietnam: Service aboard a U.S. military vessel operating on Vietnam’s inland waterways also qualifies for presumption of exposure.
  3. Vietnam and Cambodia Territorial Waters: Service on a vessel within 12 nautical miles seaward from the Vietnam and Cambodia demarcation line also establishes presumption of exposure.

READ MORE: How Do I Know If My Injury is Service-Connected?

Additional Locations Covered by the PACT Act

  1. Thailand: Service at any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976.
  2. Laos: Service in Laos from December 1, 1965, through September 30, 1969.
  3. Cambodia: Service at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia, from April 16, 1969, through April 30, 1969.
  4. Guam and American Samoa: Service in Guam or American Samoa or within their territorial waters from January 9, 1962, through July 31, 1980.
  5. Johnston Atoll: Service on Johnston Atoll or aboard a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972, through September 30, 1977.

Specific Duties and Exposures

In addition to location-based criteria, veterans may qualify for presumption of exposure under the following circumstances:

  • Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): Service on or near the Korean DMZ between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971.
  • C-123 Aircraft Exposure: Service in a regular Air Force unit location where C-123 aircraft with traces of Agent Orange were assigned, involving repeated contact due to flight, ground, or medical duties.
  • Direct Involvement with Agent Orange: Involvement in transporting, testing, storing, or using Agent Orange during military service.
  • Reserve Units: Assignment to certain flight, ground, or medical crew duties at designated locations and times, such as Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base, Westover Air Force Base, and Pittsburgh International Airport during specific periods.

Steps to File a VA Disability Claim

Importance of Medical Records and Service History

  • Medical Records: Begin by gathering all relevant medical records that document health conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure. These records should detail diagnoses, treatments, and the progression of any related illnesses.
  • Service History: Compile a thorough service history outlining dates and locations of deployment, specific duties performed, and any incidents involving potential exposure to Agent Orange. Include detailed statements that clearly establish the connection between specific conditions (such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases) and exposure to Agent Orange.

Filing the Claim

  • Obtain VA Form 21-526EZ from the VA’s official website or local VA office.
  • Fill out the form accurately, providing detailed information about personal details, military service, and specific disabilities claimed.
  • Double-check all sections to ensure completeness and accuracy before submission.
  • Use the VA’s online portal (eBenefits) or contact the VA directly to monitor the status of your claim.

Cincinnati Veterans Disability Law Attorney Here to Support You

Navigating the VA disability claims process can be complex, but veterans don’t have to go through it alone. Our dedicated veterans’ disability law attorneys provide crucial support to veterans facing health issues related to Agent Orange, both in Ohio and across the nation. We’re here to help veterans appeal adverse decisions on their claims with compassion and expertise.

See what Veterans Law Attorneys can do for you by calling us at 833-753-5168 or by contacting us online. Reach out to us and schedule your consultation with our office today.

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