A tactical herbicide used primarily during the Vietnam War, Agent Orange has been linked to a wide range of serious medical conditions. Although veterans are not entitled to VA disability benefits simply for being exposed to this hazardous chemical, they are entitled to benefits if they have a service-connected disability that resulted from their exposure to Agent Orange.
Presumptive Service Connection for Illnesses Caused by Agent Orange Exposure
In most cases, establishing a service connection is the most difficult part of being approved for VA disability benefits. However, a number of illnesses qualify for a presumptive service connection due to Agent Orange exposure.
There are no diagnostic tests that can determine if you were exposed to Agent Orange, so the VA relies on your service records. If you can show that you served during a timeframe and/or location where Agent Orange was used, your condition will be automatically presumed to be the result of your military service. It does not matter how long you served because any level of exposure is presumed to carry health risks.
The presumptive VA disability list for veterans exposed to Agent Orange includes the following types of cancer:
- Bladder cancer
- Chronic B-cell leukemia
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Prostate cancer
- Respiratory cancers (including lung cancer)
- Some soft tissue sarcomas
Other illnesses qualifying for a presumptive service connection include:
- AL amyloidosis
- Chloracne (or other types of acneiform disease like it)
- Diabetes mellitus type 2
- Ischemic heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy (early onset)
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
It’s important to note that qualifying for a presumptive service connection doesn’t mean your claim will be hassle-free. You still need to submit evidence detailing the severity of your disability, so you can receive the highest possible rating. If you are unable to work due to your condition, you will also need vocational evidence supporting your claim for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits.
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