Does My Agent Orange Exposure Qualify for the Presumptive Service Connection?

Monsanto’s Agent Orange, an extremely powerful defoliant, was widely used by the U.S. military throughout much of the mid and late 20th century. It killed plants quickly, which explains its widespread use in Vietnam during the 1960s and 70s. Unfortunately, it killed people too, or at least made them very ill. These effects did not occur immediately. Instead, they generally took decades.

Theoretically, any Veteran with exposure and a health condition associated with Agent Orange exposure could qualify for benefits. These benefits are much easier to obtain if there is a presumptive connection. More on that below.

Vietnam veterans fought for about 20 years to obtain disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. Much like the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome of the early 1990s, and burn pit injuries from the early 2000s, the government ignored scientific evidence and denied there was a connection between Agent Orange and serious illness. Veterans fought to obtain the right to compensation, and a VA disability attorney fights to preserve this right.

Vietnam Service

Chronologically, the window regarding exposure is January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975. However, to establish this element, Veterans often need more than a calendar.

“Vietnam” means Vietnam. Service in another area of the Vietnam theater, like Thailand, usually does not qualify. Additionally, flyovers do not qualify. The Veteran must have had boots on the ground. The length of ground service does not matter. It could be an hour or a full 12 or 13-month tour of duty.

Blue water Veterans who served on naval vessels might qualify for benefits, if they meet the chronological requirement. Most surface vessels, such as aircraft carriers, qualify. Most subsurface vessels, such as submarines, do not count. 

A service record usually provides conclusive proof. “Buddy statements” from fellow Veterans might be admissible, as well.

Various stateside military bases stored Agent Orange before its trip overseas. Veterans who served at these facilities usually do not meet the presumptive service qualification. If there is evidence of chemical exposure, like a handling accident, the outcome might be different.

Current Diagnosis

Time limits apply to some conditions, such as chloracne and peripheral neuropathy. Generally, these conditions must have occurred within one year of service. Moreover, the disability rating must be at least 10%.

For most other diseases, time is irrelevant. Any diagnosis from any year could mean substantial benefits. These benefits include a cash allowance and free VA medical care.

The list of presumptive illnesses changes from time to time. Some are added and some are deleted. The current list is available here. Generally, if you suffer from any chronic illness and you meet the service connection requirement, there is a good chance you might qualify for disability benefits.

Reach Out to Tenacious Attorneys

Agent Orange exposure victims might be entitled to substantial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer contact Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.