March 31, 2010 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will update their list of service-related health issues related to herbicide exposures to include Agent Orange. Over 100,000 Vietnam era veterans may have been exposed to such herbicides. Now those veterans will qualify for disability benefits under a new VA proposed regulation.
The VA is adding 3 new illnesses to their list of illnesses caused by exposure to these herbicides. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki believes this is a significant and critical step for veterans who suffer from these newly added illnesses. Secretary believes every veteran has earned the very best health care for their any illnesses or injuries they obtained through service to their country.
Secretary Shinseki made the decision to update the current list of presumptive service-related health issues afflicting Vietnam Veterans. The list will now include B cell leukemias such as:
The VA is supporting veterans in filing their disabilities claim(s) earlier rather than later so as to avoid the claims bottlenecking when the waves of disability claims start flooding the VA offices. This rule is not yet final, but veterans filing early will get their benefits early, once the rule is in place.
Additionally, past disability claims will be reviewed and veterans previously denied compensation may be qualified for retroactive payments. Veterans not able to enroll in the VA healthcare system may now be qualified.
Any veteran who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 is presumed to have had exposure to herbicide. Adding these 3 new presumptive illnesses brings the current list to 14 and expands the significant types of leukemias covered.
A presumptive illness means veterans do not have to prove any connection between their military service and their illness. The rest of the VA's Vietnam and herbicide presumptive illnesses include:
Some Vietnam Veterans have been waiting years for this disability list to be expanded. Veterans deserve the best health care this country can supply and this is one necessary step in that direction.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.
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