President George H.W. Bush signed the Agent Orange Act into law in 1991. This act mandated that certain diseases be presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.
What is Agent Orange?
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used a powerful herbicide calledto destroy crops and forest cover in Vietnam and Korea. Unfortunately, Agent Orange also had an effect on the people who lived and served in this part of the world.
Not only did people suffer from irreversible illnesses, but they also suffered permanent genetic damage that caused their children to be born with severe deformities and other birth defects. Different types of cancers were also found in veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
How Does Agent Orange Cause Cancer?
Within the chemical cocktail of Agent Orange is a specific compound thought to cause cancer and other serious illnesses. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Agent Orange contained small amounts of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).
When laboratory animals were exposed to this chemical, they were at a higher risk for developing tumors. Scientists also found that the dioxin could turn on or off certain genes which controlled cell division, a component of cancer growth.
How Can I Receive Agent Orange Compensation?
Certain types of cancers are presumed by the VA to be caused by Agent Orange exposure during military service. This means that the VA will assume your cancer is caused by Agent Orange if there are no other apparent causes.
Certain types of diseases (including cancers) are presumed by the VA to be caused by Agent Orange exposure during military service. This means the VA will assume your disease is caused byif it’s on the list of presumptive diseases and there are no other apparent causes.
Currently, the VA recognizes the following presumptive diseases as being associated with Agent Orange exposure:
- AL Amyloidosis
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Acute and Subacute
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
If you or a loved one is suffering from one of these types of presumptive diseases, we recommend that you contact one of our VA disability lawyers. Even though certain types of diseases are presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure, you will still need to prove that you served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
Keep in mind that you may still be eligible for Agent Orange compensation if you served during different dates.
The VA may pay benefits if you:
- Served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971
- Served in Thailand between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975
- Operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft between 1969 and 1986
- Served outside Vietnam, but directly handled Agent Orange
What Birth Defects are Caused by Agent Orange?
The devastating effects of Agent Orange exposure can span generations. Biological children of qualifying Vietnam veterans may be eligible for Agent Orange compensation if they have certain birth defects, such as spina bifida. They may also qualify for health care benefits and vocational training from the VA.
A child of a Vietnam veteran must have a birth defect causing permanent mental or physical disability to qualify for Agent Orange compensation. They must have also been conceived after their veteran parent was exposed to Agent Orange.
Spina Bifida (Except Spina Bifida Occulta)
A child with spina bifida may be eligible for Agent Orange compensation if their veteran parent served any of the following:
- In Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975
- In or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971 and were exposed to herbicides
- In or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971
Other Birth Defects
Biological children of female veterans may receive Agent Orange compensation for cleft lip, cleft palate, congenital heart disease, achondroplasia, and other birth defects covered by the VA. For these children to qualify, their mothers must have served in Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
Who Can I Trust to Represent My Case?
For any medical claim related to your military service, you should depend on an attorney with the necessary experience. Our veterans attorneys will know how to understand and use your medical reports as evidence for your case. They will also be familiar with how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles Agent Orange cases.
Our VA disability lawyers in Kalamazoo, MI can help you receive the compensation you deserve for Agent Orange exposure. To request a free case evaluation, call the VA Disability Group at (844) VET-LAWS.