Source: Depart of Veterans Affairs
More than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits has already been paid to approximately 89,000 Vietnam Veterans and their survivors who filed claims related to one of three new Agent Orange presumptive conditions. The rules for these conditions changed on August 31, 2010, when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended its regulations to add ischemic heart disease, hairy cell leukemia and other chronic B-cell leukemias, and Parkinson's disease to the list of diseases presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.
For new claims, VA may authorize up to one year of retroactive benefits if a Veteran can show that he or she has experienced one of those conditions since the date of the regulatory change.
According to the VA press release, the Dept. has reviewed, and continues to review, thousands of previously filed claims that may qualify for retroactive benefits under a long-standing court order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Nehmer vs. U.S. Veterans Administration.
In addition, the VA is encouraging survivors of Veterans whose death may be due to one of the three diseases to file a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation.
Potentially eligible Veterans include those who were exposed based on duty or visitation in Vietnam or on its inland waterways between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975; exposed along the demilitarized zone in Korea between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971; or exposed due to herbicide tests and storage at military bases within and outside of the United States.
The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website located at https://www.fasttrack.va.gov/AOFastTrack/ may be used to submit claims related to the three new presumptive conditions.
For more information about Agent Orange presumptives and disability compensation, go to http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/. For questions about Agent Orange, Veterans may call VA's Special Issues Helpline at
1-800-749-8387 and press 3.