Agent Orange is a highly toxic herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam era to defoliate trees and clear perimeters of military installations of enemy hiding places. In 1991, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act giving VA the authority to declare certain medical conditions “presumptive” to exposure to Agent Orange. This means a veteran does not have to prove a disability was actually caused by Agent Orange. Instead, if a veteran has a current disability and evidence of exposure to Agent Orange, the disability is automatically granted service connection.
The list of Agent Orange presumptive conditions has expanded since 1991, and currently includes:
The VA presumes a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange if he or she either had boots on the ground in Vietnam or service on the inland waterways of Vietnam, all between January 9, 1962 and May, 7 1975. For example, a service member meets the “service in Vietnam” by having a 15-minute layover in Vietnam while en route to another destination. On the other hand, a pilot who flew over Vietnam but never landed would not be afforded the presumption. In the pilot’s case, he would have to show exposure to Agent Orange by other means.
It is estimated that over 12,000 American service members were exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Korea during the Vietnam era. Veterans who served in Korea during the Vietnam era are considered exposed to Agent Orange if they served between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, in a unit, that as determined by the DoD, operated in or near the Korean DMZ in an area in which Agent Orange or other herbicides are known to have been applied during that period.
VA found significant use of herbicides, including Agent Orange, on the fenced perimeters of military installations in Thailand from February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, and now gives special consideration for actual exposure to Agent Orange to veterans whose duties placed them on or near the perimeters of military bases located in Thailand during the Vietnam era.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the VA denied tens of thousands of claims for disabilities which are now presumptively service connected. If you were previously denied service connection for a condition which is now a presumptive condition, you may be eligible for backpay back to the date you filed your denied claim.
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In addition, I advance all costs of your appeal including the cost of obtaining independent medical examinations (when appropriate). You are only responsible for repayment of expenses upon successful resolution of your appeal, or if you terminate my representation before final conclusion of your appeal.
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