Agent Orange Claims
The VA’s general regulations implementing the laws related to Agent Orange are found at 38 C.F.R. § 3.307. Also, specific provisions relating to Agent Orange are found at 38 U.S.C. § 1116. In essence, specific medical conditions are presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange in service. The claim will still need to be supported by an adequate medical diagnosis of the condition and proof of those requirements for service location(s) as outlined below.
Generally, veterans who served in the Country of Vietnam are presumed to have been exposed, but other types of exposure may require direct proof. If a condition was not recognized by VA as being presumptively caused by Agent Orange, benefits may still be granted if there is persuasive medical evidence that the condition is related to Agent Orange.
The VA has posted online a list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating on the waters of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, associated with presumptive Agent Orange exposure. “Brown water Navy” claims are often denied and should be argued by an attorney to protect your rights.
VA presumes that Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides if they served:
1) In Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, including brief visits ashore or service aboard a ship that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam: Brown water Navy.
2) In or near the Korean demilitarized zone anytime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971
Even if you did not serve in Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone during the specified time periods, you can still apply for disability compensation and obtained the Agent Orange presumption, e.g., exposure to the herbicide while in the military and believe it led to the onset of a disease. This includes:
3) Veterans who served on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam Era.
4) Veterans who served where herbicides were tested and stored outside of Vietnam.
5) Veterans who were crew members on C-123 planes flown after the Vietnam War.
6) Veterans associated with Department of Defense (DoD) projects to test, dispose of, or store herbicides in the U.S.
The only “presumption” exception to the above is “Blue Water Navy” Veterans with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be granted service-connection without showing inland waterway service or that they set foot in Vietnam. This is because VA also recognizes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as related to service in Vietnam or the waters offshore of Vietnam during the Vietnam Era.
For more information please call 813-657-9175 David W. Magann, Esquire, USMC Veteran, Wpns 1/9