Veteran’s with qualifying service during Vietnam are able to receive disability benefits for certain disease associated with Agent Orange and herbicide exposure on a presumptive basis.
For presumptive diseases a Veteran does not need to show the condition started during or worsened due to, military service. Rather, when there is qualifying service the Veteran need only show he is diagnosed with a presumptive disease. For a list of presumptive disease please click here. https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/related-diseases/
Generally, to qualify on a presumptive basis, a Veteran must have “active military, naval, or air service…in the Republic of Vietnam at some point during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 8, 1975.” See 38 C.F.R. §3.307(a)(6)(iii). This definition includes service on the inland waterways of Vietnam and on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the water of Vietnam and Cambodia, as established by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. For more information on the Blue Water Navy Act, please view our previous blog post by clicking here. https://www.lawampm.com/blog/veterans-services/2019/12/26/blue-water-navy-vietnam-veterans-act-of-2019-scheduled-to-take-effect/
Presumptive service connection may also apply to Veterans with service in certain units in Korea between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, with service on certain Thailand bases or U.S. Army installations between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, or on certain C-123 airplanes identified with traces of Agent Orange between 1969 and 1986. More information on qualifying service can be found at https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/.
The VA also acknowledges exposure for presumptive service connection for locations outside of Vietnam where herbicides were used, tested or stored by the military. The military used test and storage sites both in the U.S. and outside the U.S. The Department of Defense (DOD) has recently provided the VA with an updated list of locations where herbicides were tested and stored outside of Vietnam. A PDF of updated sites can be found by clicking here. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/docs/agentorange/dod_herbicides_outside_vietnam.pdf
Any Veterans who believe they have a current disease associated with Agent Orange are encouraged to file a claim for disability compensation for health problems related to Agent Orange exposure. Veteran’s should also contact their local VA Environmental Health Coordinator about getting an Agent Orange Registry health exam.