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Big News for Veterans: Major Agent Orange Benefit Expansion Could Affect YOU!

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently announced a significant update concerning the expansion of disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. 

The VA intends to broaden the eligibility criteria for Agent Orange disability benefits to include veterans who served in 129 specified locations across the United States, certain areas in Canada, and India during designated time frames. 

This decision reflects the VA’s ongoing efforts to ensure veterans receive the support and care they deserve for conditions connected to their service.

Key Locations and Dates

The proposal identifies specific locations within twelve states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah—along with timelines extending from 1945 to 1977. 

Additionally, it includes Kumbla, India, during 1945 and 1946, and Gagetown, New Brunswick, in Canada, in June 1966 and June 1967. 

The inclusion of these locations hopes to address the presence and testing of tactical herbicides, including Agent Orange, ensuring affected veterans are recognized for their exposure.

To see the full list, please visit the VA’s database for more information.

Simplifying the Benefits Process

The proposed changes are designed to streamline the process for veterans to receive benefits for Agent Orange-related health conditions. 

By automatically extending presumptive status to those assigned to the listed locations, the VA plans to minimize the burden on veterans to prove their illnesses are service-connected. 

This approach facilitates a more straightforward path to accessing benefits and care.

International Scope and Additional Considerations

The expansion also encompasses new time periods for veterans exposed to herbicides outside of Vietnam, including in the Korean Demilitarized Zone

The Demilitarized Zone’s expanded time period to include mid May-July 1986, and an area defined to 100 meters on each side of the DMZ fence of Priority Area 1 and 30 meters of Priority Area 3.

An extended time period at Pranburi Military Reservation in Thailand until January 1964.

This broadened scope reflects the varied geographical impact of herbicide use by the U.S. military and its allies.

What About Panama and Okinawa?

The VA recognizes inquiries regarding the omission of Panama and Okinawa from the Agent Orange exposure list, emphasizing that the current list focuses on areas under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, including sites of herbicide testing and application. 

The VA invites and values public feedback on these exclusions or any aspect of the proposed changes through the comment period, offering a platform for voices to be heard on the Federal Register or Regulations.gov until April 13, 2024. 

This open forum underscores the VA’s commitment to transparency and inclusiveness in refining its policies to better serve veterans.

Cassandra Crosby, an Accredited Agent and claims advocate for Matthew Hill & Shelly Mark’s teams, reviewed the information provided in this post.

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  • Thank you to the firm of Hill & Ponton!! Brian Hill and his staff were able to get my 100% disability with the VA for my exposure to herbicides in Thailand. I have been fighting for this for many years and kept getting denied, after consulting with Hill & Ponton I decided to let them help me and it was the best decision I could have made. I found their professionalism to be outstanding.

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