How Do You Prove A Secondary Service
Proving to the VA that you have a secondary service-connected disability, whether related to Agent Orange or for other reasons is going to require evidence of the connections.
This evidence can come in two forms. The best evidence would be from medical records, a medical opinion from a competent health care provider that can say that it is as likely as not that the service-connected condition either caused or aggravated the claimed disability.
The second best option is non-medical evidence, statements from fellow soldiers, family members, and/or work colleagues detailing their observations of the veterans conditions and timelines of when changes were noticed. These statements should focus on the disabling condition being claimed to the VA, and not be cluttered with other details or conditions.
Although this type of indirect evidence will be looked at by the VA, it is not the best option. Always try to get a medical opinion.
Presumptive Conditions To Agent Orange Exposure List
First, lets talk about the primary conditions that the VA considers to be presumptively connected to Agent Orange exposure.
There are eight types of cancer on the list bladder cancer, chronic B-cell leukemia, Hodgkins disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostate cancer, respiratory cancer , and soft tissue sarcomas .
There are also another nine non-cancer conditions AL Amyloidosis, Chloracne , Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Hypothyroidism, Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinsonism, Parkinsons Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy , and Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.
If you served in Vietnam or other qualifying areas during specified time periods and have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, the VA will make a presumptive determination of a service-connection between the two for purposes of a VA disability claim.
Remember that as of January 1, 2020, Blue Water veterans are finally eligible for presumptive service connection too.
Does This Change Impact Nehmer Class Members And Other Vietnam
Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was a class action lawsuit brought against VA by the National Veterans Legal Services Program in 1986. As a result of the case, VA must take certain actions when it recognizes a new condition as scientifically linked to Agent Orange exposure. Specifically, VA must: identify all claims for the recognized condition that were previously filed and/or denied and pay retroactive disability and death benefits to the veterans or their survivors back to the date of the veterans initial claim
The Nehmer class consists mainly of veterans who served in Vietnam and suffer from conditions VA has deemed presumptive. It is important to note that since three new conditions have been added to the list, veterans who suffer from one of the three may now be considered part of the Nehmer class. This is particularly relevant to veterans who previously filed a claim for one of the three conditions but were denied. These veterans may now be able to secure benefits with an effective date back to the date of the original claim.
Veterans who served in Thailand, Korea, and other areas may have also exposed to and affected by Agent Orange. In this instance, a veteran suffering from one of the established presumptive conditions would still have to prove the first two elements of service connection , but they would not have to prove the medical nexus, or link, between their diagnosis and the in-service event.
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Requirements For Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases
When sound medical and scientific evidence shows that an illness is caused by Agent Orange exposure, we add it to our list of presumptive diseases. If youve been diagnosed with one of these illnesses, you dont need to prove that it started duringor got worse because ofyour military service.
If you have an illness thats not on our list of presumptive diseases, but you believe it was caused by Agent Orange exposure, you can still file a claim for VA disability benefits. But youll need to submit more evidence. Keep reading to learn about service requirements and supporting evidence.
New Conditions On The Agent Orange Presumptive List
Following the passing of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, there are now three new conditions on the Agent Orange presumptive list. These conditions include:
- Bladder Cancer
- Hypothyroidism: A condition occurs when the thyroid doesnt produce enough hormones
- Parkinsonism: A condition with symptoms of Parkinsons Disease, including tremors, impaired speech, muscle stiffness, and slow movement
The addition of these conditions means that many more veterans will be eligible for VA disability benefits. If you filed a claim for one of these conditions in the past, the VA will automatically review your case to see if youre now eligible.
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How Common Is Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is more common among men than women, and it affects older people more than younger. The mean age at diagnosis is 73. Bladder cancer represents 4.7% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.2 Overall the chance of developing this kind of cancer is 1 in 27 for men and 1 in 89 for women. However, the chance for any one persons developing it depends on individual risk factors and exposures.3 The good news is that over the past 10 years, there has been a slight but consistent decline in the number of new bladder cancer cases.2
Service Requirements For Presumption Of Exposure
We base eligibility for VA disability compensation benefits, in part, on whether you served in a location that exposed you to Agent Orange. We call this having a presumption of exposure.
You have a presumption of exposure if you meet at least one of the service requirements listed below.
Between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, you must have served for any length of time in at least one of these locations:
- In the Republic of Vietnam, or
- Aboard a U.S. military vessel that operated in the inland waterways of Vietnam, or
- On a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, or
- On regular perimeter duty on the fenced-in perimeters of a U.S. Army installation in Thailand or a Royal Thai Air Force base. These bases include U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, or Don Muang.
Or at least one of these must be true. You:
- Served in or near the Korean DMZ for any length of time between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971, or
- Served on active duty in a regular Air Force unit location where a C-123 aircraft with traces of Agent Orange was assigned, and had repeated contact with this aircraft due to your flight, ground, or medical duties, or
- Were involved in transporting, testing, storing, or other uses of Agent Orange during your military service, or
- Were assigned as a Reservist to certain flight, ground, or medical crew duties at one of the below locations.
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A 2010 Nrc Report Review Of The Department Of Defense Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program
In February 2008 the Department of Defense issued the Department of Defense Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program Final Report. The purpose of the study was to provide information on the chemical and physical properties of dust collected at deployment locations. Aerosol and bulk soil samples were collected during a period of Start Printed Page 42725approximately one year at 15 military sitesÃ¢including Djibouti, Afghanistan , Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq , and Kuwait . The Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program Report found that exposures in the region may have exceeded military/national exposure guidelines, including EPAâs 24-hr NAAQS for PM2.5 .
The National Research Council of NASEM independently reviewed DODâs final report in Review of the Department of Defense Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program Report in 2010. The NRC committee highlighted that the EPMSP was one of the first large-scale efforts to characterize PM exposure in deployed military personnel. Despite the practical challenges of conducting this effort in an austere deployment environment, the NRC Report found the results of the EMPSP can be viewed as providing sufficient evidence that deployed military personnel endured occupational exposure to a potential hazard to justify implementation of a comprehensive medical-surveillance program to assess PM-related health effects in military personnel deployed in the Middle East Theater.
Help Us Investigate The Impact Of Agent Orange
We’re interested in hearing from veterans and family members for our ongoing investigation into the effects of Agent Orange on veterans and their children.
Karl Pritchard served 22 years in the Navy before retiring to Norfolk, Virginia. His service included a tour in Vietnam flying aircraft interception missions from an airfield outside of Saigon, the former South Vietnam capital, in 1962. That was three years before the U.S. officially entered the war, but the military had already begun spraying Agent Orange and other defoliants.
Pritchard was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bladder cancer two years ago and had to have his bladder removed.
I assume I was exposed. I dont know. They dont tell us these kinds of things, Pritchard said recently before an oncology appointment. He receives experimental treatments every three weeks to prevent lingering cancer cells from spreading to other parts of his body.
It changes you, losing your bladder, he said, describing the external urine pouch he wears. It gives you a new normal. Every hour or so, you gotta make sure you empty that thing, otherwise you make a tremendous mess.
Its not how the 78-year-old imagined living out his final years, he said. He started to file a claim with the VA a couple of years ago but stopped when an official told him he wasnt eligible for compensation. He hasnt bothered to revisit the process.
I might apply, he said, if someone tells me its not a waste of time.
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Bladder Cancer From Camp Lejeune
Bladder cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in America. As the name implies, this cancer affects the bladder and urinary system, especially the walls lining the bladder. Cancer of any kind is simply the uncontrolled reproduction of cells. When these cells begin to clump together, tumors begin to form, and the necessary function of the affected organ becomes impaired. Tumors can spread from one organ to the next, causing serious health problems for patients.
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Veterans’ Diseases Associated With Agent Orange
VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran’s qualifying military service. We call these “presumptive diseases.”
VA added 3 more presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure.This expands benefits for Veterans and survivors with these presumptive conditions:
- Bladder cancer
If VA denied your claim for any of these conditions in the past, we’ll automatically review your case again. You don’t need to file another claim. VA will send you a letter to let you know we’re reviewing your case.
VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.
- A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
- 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, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
- Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
- A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues
Thoughts On Va Pays For Agent Orange
Did the reporter find out how many suffering from ED is due to loss of the prostate?
As a veteran who served in Vietnam sometimes its very har to understand why its such a fight with our own government to get help with the problems that we would never have suffered had we stayed home.
I work in a VA. hospital and I hear it everyday, every single day I work, how many vets are denied benefits or how long it takes them to get compensation. Diabetes is is a presumptive agent orange disease, but you wont get compensated unless you have to take insulin shots.
Some Vietnam vets try to live a healthy lifestyle and still come down with the disease, but through trying to live a healthy lifestyle only have to take an oral medication, which causes more problems. I only have one thing to say about thepoliticians quit stuffing your freaking pockets and help these men Now.
As a Army vet I did two tours in Nam. Im service connected with Irritable bowel syndrome and would like to find out how many other Nam. veterans have this same problem. But are not service connected.
Im a vet that was in Vietnam. I suffer from peyronies disease. i was just wondering if anyone else suffers from this and thinks it could be related to agent orange.
my husband has IBS also did you file a claim for this? sometimes he is so miserable . please let me know. He was in vietman 1968-1970 USMC thanks, his wife
I was stationed in Pleiku and An Khe in 1969.
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Is Va Required To Add New Conditions To The Agent Orange Presumptive List
In 1991, the Agent Orange Act was designed to respond to the many health-related concerns expressed by Vietnam-era veterans in relation to herbicide exposure. The Act set forth many requirements that VA must adhere to. Specifically, the Act required VAs Secretary to contract with the Institute of Medicine .
The IOM must submit Health and Medicine Division Reports on Agent Orange every two years, at a minimum, that reviews and summarizes the link between exposure to herbicides during service and certain conditions. In developing the report, the IOM must consider useful clinical data gathered from VA medical exams and treatment provided after 1981 to Vietnam-era veterans who sought VA healthcare based on Agent Orange exposure.
Ultimately, the IOM must determine if there is a statistical association between exposure to herbicides and a specific disease, and if there is evidence of a causal relationship. Whenever the Secretary determines that a positive association exists between Agent Orange exposure and certain conditions, presumptive service connection is warranted.
Veterans Can Get Va Disability Benefits For Service
While bronchitis is a condition where you get a buildup of mucus in your windpipe that doesnt go away quickly, Asthma comes upon a person as a rapid buildup of mucus or swelling of your windpipe. It can be caused by pollutants in the air, stress, an allergic reaction, physical activity, or even food preservatives or acid reflux. Because service-members in all branches can be subjected to pollutants, physical exertion, and stress, it is a viable cause for VA disability claims.
The Mayo clinic shows conditions that can increase your likelihood of having asthma.
- Relatives with asthma
- Exhaust fumes, like diesel exhaust, or other air pollution
- Occupational triggers such as pesticides, farming chemicals, manufacturing, and hairdressing.
These last two points are the areas where the Veterans Administration gets involved. If you served in any of the armed forces, whether you saw combat or not, and you think you have shortness of breath because of it, call us. Iraq and Afghanistan have their burn pits, Vietnam had Agent Orange, and every unit has a number of trucks, tanks, or boats spewing out some nasty exhaust. Even marching on foot through deserted buildings can subject you to smoke, asbestos, chemicals, and smells that are warning you of toxic air. Any of these could start your asthma symptoms that will slowly worsen over time.
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Is Bladder Cancer Presumptive To Agent Orange Exposure
The Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to add bladder cancer to the list of presumed diseases related to Agent Orange toxic exposure. This chemical is an herbicide and defoliant that the National Academies of Sciences has evaluated for its connection to a variety of medical conditions, now set to include bladder cancer.
Periodically, the VA re-evaluates its stance regarding which medical conditions are presumed to be a result of Agent Orange exposure to update this list of diseases. The most recent change to the VAs position regarding Agent Orange presumptive illnesses before the most recent regarding bladder cancer was in 2010, when the VA added ischemic heart disease, Parkinsons disease, and chronic B-cell leukemia to the list.
The addition of these three conditions to the presumptive list, resulted in newfound compensation eligibility for thousands of Agent Orange exposed Veterans and their survivors. This is exactly what is going to happen with the adding of bladder cancer.
Cck Can Help Veterans Affected By Bladder Cancer
If you are a Vietnam-era veteran suffering from bladder cancer, the veterans disability team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to assist you. Now that bladder cancer is officially included on the list of presumptive conditions, you may want to seek assistance filing an initial claim, appealing a past denial, or seeking an earlier effective date.
The team at CCK may be able to guide you through the process. For more information, including a complimentary case review, contact us online or at 800-544-9144.
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Qualifying For Disability Benefits
If you have a health condition you think may have been caused by Agent Orange, you may qualify for healthcare and disability benefits. You need a medical record that shows you have an Agent Orange-related illness. You also need a military record showing service in a location exposed to Agent Orange. It can take the VA more than 100 days to process your claim. Contact the VA for help filing a claim for these benefits.5,6