Non-Presumptive Agent Orange Illness Claims
Information on obtaining benefits in Non-Presumptive Agent Orange illness claims. In the VA benefits world, over a dozen serious conditions have a presumptive Agent Orange connection. Generally, Veterans with one of these conditions need only show service in the Vietnam theater between 1962 and 1975, a current diagnosis of a listed condition, and at least a 10% impairment rating.
In many cases, the Veteran’s service record and the results of a C&P examination (“C&P”) may be sufficient. That is probably true even if the Veteran only spent a few months in Vietnam and the C&P was largely inconclusive. The presumed service- connection is that strong.
However, even if your Agent Orange illness is not on the presumed list, benefits may still be available. Your VA benefits lawyer must simply work a little harder to build a solid claim. Available disability benefits for a 100% disability start at $3106.04/mo and can be more with dependents and Special Monthly Compensation, along with free VA medical care.
Obtaining Benefits for Non-Presumptive Agent Orange Illnesses
Bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, strokes, and early-onset peripheral neuropathy are four of the most common non-presumptive Agent Orange conditions. Although there is substantial evidence linking these conditions to Agent Orange exposure, the VA insists that the link is too tenuous. Many people speculate that the VA simply does not want to spend the money necessary to add these conditions to the presumed list.
To obtain benefits in non-presumptive cases the claimant must present sufficient evidence to overcome the no-link presumption. This evidence usually includes:
- Direct Exposure: In presumptive Agent Orange claims, simply being in-country or offshore is usually sufficient. But in non-presumptive claims, such ambient exposure may not be enough. The Veteran’s service record must normally include time at an installation where Agent Orange was used.
- Current Disability: This prong is probably the easiest one to prove. The minimum level is a 10% disability. If the Veteran’s disability rating exceeds this threshold, that is even better.
- Medical Evidence: A peer-reviewed study in a respected medical journal normally establishes a scientific connection. This study must explain how the researchers arrived at the conclusion. Additionally, the Veteran’s medical records must normally include a doctor’s statement confirming the Agent Orange link.
The list of presumptive illnesses is a lot longer than the non-presumptive lists. VA benefits are relatively easy to obtain if the Veteran served in Vietnam during the relevant period and suffers from a disability due to chloracne, soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, Hodgkin’s disease, certain respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea), multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, early-onset peripheral neuropathy, type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, AL amyloidosis, ischemic heart disease, chronic B-cell leukemia, and Parkinson’s disease.
What to Expect in a VA Disability Claim
If the claimant has a presumed disability, the VA normally approves benefits, at least in principle. However, claims examiners often contest the extent of disability and therefore the amount of benefits. Additional medical evidence is oftentimes useful in establishing entitlement to increased ratings. Moreover, lay testimony often sheds light on the condition. For example, a friend could testify about how the Veteran’s weakness from heart disease affects their daily activities.
Evidence is also key in a non-presumptive claim. However, even if the evidence is rather compelling, claims examiners routinely deny these applications. At a subsequent administrative hearing, an attorney can introduce evidence, make legal arguments, and challenge evidence. As a result, the Veteran has a much better chance of obtaining benefits.
Contact Dedicated Attorneys
Even if your Agent Orange illness is not on the presumed list, substantial benefits may be available. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact Cameron Firm, PC 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.