Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including disability compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Your dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits. VA offers health care benefits for Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during military service. Veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, are eligible to enroll in VA health care.
What is Agent Orange and How Were People Exposed to It?
"Agent Orange" refers to a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed in the jungles of Vietnam and around the Korean demilitarized zone to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover. Herbicides were also used by the U.S. military to defoliate military facilities in the U.S. and in other countries as far back as the 1950s.
For the purposes of VA compensation benefits, Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, as specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991. These Veterans do not need to show that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides in order to get disability compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.
Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were used, tested or stored elsewhere, including some military bases in the United States. Other locations/scenarios in which Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange may include:
- Korean Demilitarized Zone- Exposure along the demilitarized zone in Korea between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971
- Thailand Military Bases - Possible exposure on or near the perimeters of military bases between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975
- Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside Vietnam- Possible exposure due to herbicide tests and storage at military bases in the U.S. and locations in other countries
- Agent Orange Residue on Airplanes Used in Vietnam War - Possible exposure of crew members to herbicide residue in C-123 planes flown after the Vietnam War
What Diseases and Conditions Can Agent Orange Exposure Cause?
VA presumes the following diseases to be service-connected for such exposed Veterans:
- AL amyloidosis,
- Chloracne or other acneform disease similar to chloracne,
- Chronic B-cell leukemias (including, but not limited to, hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia),
- Diabetes mellitus (Type 2),
- Hodgkin's disease,
- Ischemic heart disease.
- Multiple myeloma,
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,
- Parkinson's disease,
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
- Porphyria cutanea tarda,
- Prostate cancer,
- Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea),
- Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
VA offers health care benefits for Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. These services include an Agent Orange Registry health exam and clinical treatment at VA's War Related Illness and Injury Study Center.
Agent Orange Effects on Children of Veterans
Children who have spina bifida or certain other birth defects and are biological children of Veterans with qualifying service in Vietnam or Korea may be eligible for a range of VA benefits, including:
- Compensation, a monthly monetary allowance based on the child's degree of disability
- Health care benefits
- Vocational training, which provides up to 24 months of full-time training, rehabilitation and job assistance with the possibility of an extension up to 24 months if needed to achieve the employment goal. The child may not begin vocational training before his or her 18th birthday or the date he or she completes secondary schooling, whichever comes first.
Veterans who want to be considered for disability compensation for health problems related to Agent Orange exposure must file a claim. During the claims process, VA will check military records to confirm exposure to Agent Orange or qualifying military service. If necessary, VA will set up a separate exam for compensation.
Agent Orange Registry Health Exam
VA's Agent Orange Registry health exam alerts Veterans to possible long-term health problems that may be related to Agent Orange exposure during their military service. The registry data helps VA understand and respond to these health problems more effectively.
The exam is free to eligible Veterans and enrollment in VA health care is not necessary. Although the findings of your exam may be used to inform your subsequent care, they may not be used when applying for compensation as a separate exam is required.
For More Information
Contact the VA by calling 800-827-1000 or visit their website www.va.gov