Veterans here in Alabama are well aware that during the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed Agent Orange, a defoliating agent, to clear vegetation from enemy territory. In addition, it was possible for some veterans to have contacted this dangerous chemical outside of Vietnam and Korea, in particular in bases in Thailand or while working with planes used to transport the chemical. Unfortunately, at that time the military was unaware of the various harmful effects of Agent Orange on all those who were exposed to it.
Now, however, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges the ill-effects and provides benefits for veterans affected by Agent Orange exposure. The VA assumes that all veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 and have a qualified illness were affected by Agent Orange. The VA also assumes that veterans who visited the shore for short durations or veterans who entered Vietnam’s inland waterways were also exposed to Agent Orange. Additionally, veterans who served in the Korean demilitarized zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971 are eligible.
In order to obtain benefits related to illnesses caused by Agent Orange exposure, veterans can show that they fall under either of the two aforementioned categories. For those with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, they need to produce no additional evidence aside from the service record as the VA presumes that any veteran who served in these conflict zones between the mentioned dates was affected by Agent Orange. However, if a veteran wants to claim benefits for Agent Orange but does not fall under either of these two categories, that veteran must provide further evidence that links his or her disability to Agent Orange.
As in the case of other veterans’ issues, it is important to remember that in order to obtain benefits related to exposure to Agent Orange, a veteran will be asked to produce adequate evidence along with the request for compensation, and this is what can often cause issues or delays. Thus, working with someone experienced with the VA Benefits process can be helpful in obtaining this important compensation.