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Veterans Exposed to Herbicides Outside of Vietnam: Here’s What To Do

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | April 12, 2022 | Disability Compensation,State Veteran Benefits

Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide the U.S. military primarily used to clear vegetation and leaves for military operations during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was also used at Thailand military bases during the Vietnam War and in the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ). The herbicides were also tested and stored elsewhere, including some military bases in the United States.

The herbicide has been linked to numerous diseases, including lung cancer and other respiratory cancers, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypothyroidism, ischemic heart disease, and Parkinsonism.

Veterans that may have experienced exposure to Agent Orange, and are experiencing related symptoms or disease, may be eligible for VA disability benefits. Here’s what you need to do.

Determine Eligibility for Agent Orange Benefits and Other Benefits

The first step is to determine whether you can prove exposure to Agent Orange. The most common (but not all) ways to prove exposure are:

Register for a VA Agent Orange Registry Health Exam

You may be eligible for a free Agent Orange Registry health exam. You don’t have to file a disability claim to receive the exam. You can contact your local VA office about getting the Agent Orange Registry health exam which is designed to alert you to possible long-term health problems that may be related to Agent Orange exposure.

Exposure Based on Contact with C-123 Aircraft

C-123 aircraft were commonly used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam, and as a result, they had Agent Orange residue on the interior surfaces even after returning to the United States. Military personnel that worked on the interior of the aircraft after they returned to the United States “quite likely experienced non-trivial increases in their risks of adverse health outcomes” due to such exposure.

Therefore, if you had an AFSC indicating duties as a flight, ground maintenance, or medical crewmember that worked on C-123s, and your served at one of the following bases during the required time, then the VA should presume you were exposed to Agent Orange:

Get Disability Compensation

If you have one of the conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange, and you can prove you were exposed, then you can receive service connection for the medical condition. The amount of compensation depends on the condition and its severity.

Hire a VA Benefits Attorney

The VA is a highly bureaucratic department that is notoriously difficult to navigate, especially if it’s your first time. Although you might be entitled to the benefits, the VA often makes it seem like you are not.

It’s common for initial claims to be denied, in which case you should consider reaching out to me. I may be able to help you prove exposure and develop the evidence needed to win your claim for VA disability compensation due to a condition caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

A qualified attorney can help file the claim, attach the proper documentation and make it easier to get the life-changing benefits.

Consider contacting me if you have been denied benefits, haven’t received the proper amount of past-due benefits (backpay), or have received a low disability rating.