A bipartisan effort is underway to extend Agent Orange exposure benefits to service members who served in other parts of Southeast Asia during Operation Ranch Hand.
Pennsylvania Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) and Matt Cartwright (D) introduced a bill that would apply to Veterans who were stationed in Laos, Cambodia, or Thailand during Operation Ranch Hand. “Many of those who have been exposed are living with cancers, heart disease or Parkinson’s disease,” Rep. Cartwright remarked in a statement. “They deserve relief for the pain and hardship this has caused for them and their families.”
Over 50,000 soldiers served in Thailand alone during the height of the Vietnam War.
Most people know that Agent Orange was a powerful defoliant. The military used it primarily in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971. But it was used elsewhere as well. Additionally, it was stored in other places as well. If you or a loved one was stationed anywhere near one of these use or storage facilities and a doctor diagnosed the victim with one of the following conditions, you might be entitled to benefits.
For many years, the VA denied that there was a connection between Agent Orange and serious illness. So, if you tried to obtain benefits before and were denied, there is a good chance that a VA disability attorney can reverse that outcome. There are now fourteen conditions on the presumptive list:
- AL Amyloidosis,
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias,
- 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, and
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas.
Most of the conditions on this list are either cancer or a neurological disorder. Dioxin was the active ingredient in Agent Orange. This chemical is highly toxic. It causes cells to mutate and divide too quickly, so they form tumors. Dioxin also alters brain chemistry.
Available benefits in these cases include monthly cash and free medical care at any VA medical facility. The cash benefit amount largely depends on the nature and extent of the Veteran’s disability, as well as the number of dependents the Veteran has. Survivor benefits follow a similar formula. Especially in a chronic disease disability claim, the free medical care is sometimes more valuable than the cash benefits.
If you or a loved one was stationed outside Vietnam or has an Agent Orange-related illness that is not on the presumptive conditions list, benefits might still be available. They are just a little more difficult to obtain.
First, the Veteran must have a diagnosis of an illness which is directly related to Agent Orange exposure. The physician must normally use this phrase in the report. If the illness is tied to dioxin or an Agent Orange ingredient, that might not be sufficient. Attorneys have professional relationships with physicians. Therefore, the victim has access to a top Agent Orange doctor who charges no upfront fees.
Next, the Veteran must show a service-related connection. Typically, the Veteran’s service record provides the necessary evidence. If the Veteran was stationed at a base with handled Agent Orange, especially if the deployment lasted more than a few months and the facility was relatively small, it’s as likely as not that the Veteran was exposed to Agent Orange. That is usually the burden of proof in VA disability claims.
Sometimes, a buddy statement seals the deal. Colleagues usually saw the Veteran work near Agent Orange containers or otherwise be exposed to this chemical
Finally, the condition must be disabling. Essentially, a disability means that the condition substantially impairs the Veteran’s everyday life. Most Agent Orange illnesses are quite severe. So, establishing this element normally is not a problem.
Reach Out to Capable Attorneys
Substantial benefits are available to Agent Orange survivors. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact the Cameron Firm, P.C. at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.