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Agent Orange and Bladder Cancer, Parkinsonism, and Hypothyroidism

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | Firm News

The VA finally announced that it will begin implementing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 which amended 38 U.S.C. § 1116 to add to the list of conditions that are presumptively associated with exposure to Agent Orange the conditions of bladder cancer, Parkinsonism, and hypothyroidism.

What Does this Mean?

This means that if you were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides, and you are diagnosed with bladder cancer, Parkinsonism, or hypothyroidism, then VA will grant service connection for those conditions. Normally, in order to win service connection, you would have to prove a medical nexus between your exposure to Agent Orange and the condition, but Congress has now deemed these conditions as presumptively related to Agent Orange meaning you do not need to prove a medical nexus. You simply need to show exposure to Agent Orange (i.e., boots on the ground in Vietnam) and a diagnosis and you will win the claim.

What if I Had Been Denied Service Connection in the Past?

If the VA previously denied you service connection for bladder cancer, Parkinsonism, or hypothyroidism as caused by exposure to Agent Orange, then per Nehmer vs. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA is required to automatically review the prior denial and rededicate the claim. If granted, then you can receive an effective date of when you originally made the claim, which could result in substantial backpay.

What Should I Do?

If you have bladder cancer, Parkinsonism, or hypothyroidism and were exposed the Agent Orange, then you should submit a claim for service connection. If you had previously been denied service connection for these conditions, you can wait for the VA to automatically review your prior denial and reajdudicate the claim, or you can be proactive and submit a request for the VA to readjudicate the prior denial. 

Either way, you can always schedule a free consultation with us to learn more about your options.