The Veterans Affairs (VA) Department is urging Vietnam-era veterans to apply for benefits that were recently expanded to cover medical conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. The VA has paid out more than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits to Vietnam-era veterans and their survivors since an August 2010 change in regulations.
The 2010 change in regulations added ischemic heart disease, certain types of leukemia and Parkinson’s disease to the list of illnesses assumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure.
Agent Orange was a herbicide used in Vietnam by U.S. forces to clear trees and vegetation providing cover for the enemy.
Potentially eligible veterans include those who were exposed between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. Also potentially eligible are veterans who were exposed in Korea between April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971. Veterans exposed due to herbicide tests and storage at military bases may also be eligible.
“There is ample evidence of the serious medical consequence of Agent Orange exposure,” said GST Warren Mart. “It is gratifying to see the VA giving this matter the attention it deserves and it is also gratifying to see the new benefits will be retroactive for veterans and their dependants.”
According to program guidelines, the VA may authorize up to one year of retroactive benefits if veterans can show they have experienced one of the conditions since the regulation was changed. Survivors may also apply for dependency and indemnity compensation.
Claims may be submitted to the Agent Orange Claims Processing System at https://www.fasttrack.va.gov/AOFastTrack. VA also has a special issues help line at 1-800-749-8387.