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Can I Receive VA Disability Benefits for Agent Orange Exposure?

Agent Orange is the common name for a specific blend of defoliants/herbicides used during the Vietnam era. The military sprayed millions of gallons on trees and vegetation that provided cover for enemy forces. If you served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, the Department of Veterans Affairs presumes that certain conditions which you may develop are service-connected disabilities.

The diseases recognized by VA as being caused by Agent Orange exposure are limited to the following:

  • Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
    A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, you had to develop the condition within 1 year of exposure to herbicides and it had to resolve within 2 years after the date it began.
  • AL Amyloidosis
    A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs.
  • Chloracne (or Similar Acneform Disease)
    A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating regulations, chloracne (or other acneform disease similar to chloracne) must have been at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides.
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemias
    A type of cancer which affects white blood cells. VA recognized all chronic B-cell leukemias as related to exposure to herbicides as of October 30, 2010.
  • Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
    A common disease diagnosed by blood tests which show high blood sugar levels.
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
    A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
    A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain. VA recognized ischemic heart disease as related to exposure to herbicides as of October 30, 2010.
  • Multiple Myeloma
    A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.
  • Parkinson’s Disease
    A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement. VA recognized Parkinson's disease as related to exposure to herbicides as of October 30, 2010.
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
    A disease related to liver dysfunction and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. VA requires that it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides.
  • Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
    A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, you had to develop the condition within 1 year of exposure to herbicides and it had to resolve within 2 years after the date it began.
  • Prostate Cancer 
  • Respiratory Cancers
    Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.
  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
    A group of different types of cancers involving different parts of the body, like muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.

VA also presumes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – “Lou Gehrig Disease”) diagnosed in all Veterans with 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service.

Generally, you need to have had “boots on the ground” in Vietnam to qualify for service-connected compensation related to Agent Orange. However, Veterans who served on open sea ships but did not set foot in Vietnam and have an Agent Orange-related disease may still apply for VA disability compensation if they believe they were exposed, either through transports to docks in the ports of Vietnam or direct exposure onboard ships. For example, one of our clients was awarded service-connected compensation for an Agent Orange related condition after he was able to produce evidence of loading herbicides on planes and having direct exposure while on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

If you served in-country in Vietnam or on a naval vessel which served offshore Vietnam, the Florida VA Disability Attorneys of Tucker Ludin may be able to help you secure VA disability benefits. If you have applied for service-connected compensation for your Agent Orange exposure related to one of these diseases and have been denied benefits, call VA Disability Attorney John Tucker at (866) 282-5260. We look forward to helping you get the compensation or pension benefits you deserve. Contact our Florida veterans benefits law firm for help today.