The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force and Air Force Reserve veterans who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand. This regulation is an interim final rule so VA can immediately begin providing benefits to eligible Airmen who submit a disability compensation claim for any of the 14 medical conditions that have been determined by officials to be related to exposure to Agent Orange. The decision to expand benefits was made following publication of a 2015 report, "Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft," by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. The interim final rule can be found on the Federal Register. Individuals with specific benefit questions related to herbicide exposure on C-123s may call VA's special C-123 hotline at 800-749-8387 (available 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. EST) or e-mail VSCC123.VAVBASPL@va.gov.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the Military.com Benefits Center.