Everyone has heard about agent orange at some time in their lifetime. There are commercials all over the radio and television about filing an agent orange claim. It was a widely-used herbicide in Vietnam and Thailand during the Vietnam War. They used it as a defoliant to kill the shrubbery and trees, reducing the amount of places the enemy could hide. Over 20% of the country of Vietnam was sprayed with agent orange during the Vietnam War. They would use these massive planes and stagger 5 of them to spray a huge area at a time.
If you served in the Republic of Vietnam or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the Vietnam War, you may have had contact with agent orange. If you were in Thailand at one of the military bases there, you more than likely had contact with agent orange. These toxic chemicals have caused a wide range of serious health conditions for those who were exposed. Fortunately for our Veterans, the PACT Act recently make it easier to file an agent orange claim. Here are some of the details of that legislation.
Presumptive Diagnoses for an Agent Orange Claim
Let’s start with the medical presumption part of the PACT Act. If you served and you were diagnosed with any of the following conditions, you don’t need to prove that it started during or got worse because of your military service. So this is a presumptive condition that you don’t have to prove.
• Bladder cancer
• Chronic B-cell leukemia
• Hodgkins disease
• Multiple myeloma
• Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
• Prostate cancer
• Respiratory cancer
• Soft tissue sarcoma
• Type II diabetes
• High blood pressure
• Ischemic heart disease
• Monoclonal gammopathy
• Parkinsons disease
• Peripheral neuropathy
If you have one of these listed conditions, you don’t have to prove that it was due to your military service. All you have to do is prove that you served in an area and during a time where agent orange was present. Your military records will show where you served, and your medical records will show the diagnosis. Having the diagnosis and your service records completes the requirements for the presumption on an agent orange claim.
That’s the great thing that the PACT Act has now provided. You no longer have to prove that one of these medical conditions resulted from your military service. You only have to prove that you were there and that you’ve got the disease or condition. If we have those two pieces of evidence, that gets us halfway there with respect to your agent orange claim for disability benefits.
If you have one of the above listed conditions but served in the US, you don’t get the presumption. You only get the presumption if you served in one of the areas defined by the VA in the PACT Act. Yes, you can still file an agent orange claim. But the approval process is significantly more difficult if you don’t have the presumption on your side.
Presumptive Service Locations for an Agent Orange Claim
The presumptive service locations for an agent orange claim include the Republic of Vietnam, aboard a military ship or vessel that operated in the waters near Vietnam, or the Bluewater Navy that served no more than 12 miles off the coast of Vietnam. It also includes any US or Thai military base from January 9, 1962 to June 30, 1976. That covers the Air Force service members during that time. Other presumptive service locations include Laos from December 1, 1965 to September 30, 1969, Cambodia from April 16, 1969 to April 30, 1969, American Samoa rom January 1962 to July 1980, and then the Johnson Atoll from January 1, 1972 to September 30, 1977.
In addition to your location being on the presumptive list for an agent orange claim, you had to have been on active duty. Unfortunately if you were in the Guard or a Reservist, you don’t get that presumption unless your unit was called to service via Presidential order. However, there are always exceptions to these rules.
There are eligible reserve locations and time periods that include Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Lockbourne, OH from 1969 to 1986, Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts from 1972 to 1982, and the Pittsburgh International Airport in Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1982. If you were in one of those reserve locations, then it’s possible we can look at your military records and get the presumption for your agent orange claim.
Maybe you were involved in transporting, testing, or storing agent orange during your military service, but didn’t serve in one of the presumptive locations? Maybe you were transporting agent orange from air bases in California to Thailand or Vietnam? We’d have to get your military records to prove that you were on the airplane and that you were indeed transporting agent orange. We could then show that information to the VA to bolster your agent orange claim. If you were involved in the cleaning of the airplanes after the storage or transportation of agent orange, you’d likely have a good case as well.
Contact Us So We Can Help!
Presumptions for an agent orange claim depend on the diagnosis and your service location. If you need help determining that and finding your military records, you can complete this form or give us a call at (229) 226-8183. You can also send us an email to [email protected]. Surviving spouses are eligible for some benefits as well. Don’t let the VA tell you otherwise. There are some additional requirements, but we can help you with that.
Thank you to our Veterans. It’s because of you that we’re free and we’re able to walk around as free people and have free speech. Thank you to the spouses of Veterans. Without you the Veteran wouldn’t have been able to do what he or she needed to do to keep us free.
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