The VA typically requires three elements for a condition to be service connected.
First, a current diagnosis of the condition, second, an in-service event, and third, a nexus (connection) between the current diagnosis and the in-service event.
For a VA presumption of Exposure, if the Veteran has qualifying location and date service, the in-service event is granted.
The VA has also acknowledged that certain medical conditions are strongly related to herbicide exposure. This creates presumptive conditions that serve to fulfill the third element (nexus) of a service-connection claim.
For example, if a Veteran can prove service in Vietnam, during the specified time period, and has a current diagnosis of one of the presumptive conditions, the Veteran does not have to prove a nexus, it is presumed.
These two presumptions significantly lower the burden of proof for Veterans on VA claims.
Locations and Dates of VA Presumptive Herbicide Exposure: 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6)
Service in Republic of Vietnam: January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975.
Includes exposure on:
- A vessel operating in the inland waterways, and
- A vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward
- form the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia. (Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans)
Includes service on C-123 Airplanes flown during and after the Vietnam War for:
- Flight Crews,
- Ground Maintenance Crews, and
- Aeromedical Crews
Korean Demilitarized Zone: April 1, 1968 to August 31, 1971
Includes units that operated in or near the demilitarized zone of Korea
Thailand Military Bases: January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975
While the VA has acknowledged that herbicides were used in Thailand, there is not a blanket presumption of exposure for those that served in Thailand. Rather, the VA limits the presumption of exposure to those that serviced on the fenced-in perimeters of U.S. Military Bases or Royal Thai Air Force Bases.
Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside Vietnam:
Includes Department of Defense military installations in the United States and other nations that tested and stored herbicide. This includes sites were herbicides were stored before use and sites where herbicide was destroyed or discarded.
Presumptive Conditions for herbicide exposure include: 38 CFR 3.309(e)
- AL Amyloidosis
- Chronic B-cell leukemias
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Chloracne or similar acneform disease (if they become greater than 10 percent debilitating within a year of exposure to an herbicide agent)
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Ischemic Heart Disease (including Coronary Artery Disease, Stable and Unstable Angina, Myocardial Infarction, and Sudden Cardiac Death.)
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset, Acute or Subacute (if they become greater than 10 percent debilitating within a year of exposure to an herbicide agent)
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (if they become greater than 10 percent debilitating within a year of exposure to an herbicide agent)
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancers (including Lung Cancer)
- Soft-tissue Sarcoma (not including osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma)