Agent Orange is not a Disability: Agent Orange is an herbicide that the U.S. military used to remove leaves and thick tropical foliage that gave the enemy cover. A veteran cannot file an Agent Orange disability claim. Instead, the veteran would file a claim for a condition that was the result of the veteran being exposed to Agent Orange during service.
Presumption of Exposure: The VA will presume that that a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange if that veteran served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. Service in Vietnam means service on land in Vietnam or on the inland waterways (“brown water” Veterans) of Vietnam. This means that the veteran does not have to prove that they were actually exposed to Agent Orange. Instead, the veteran just has to prove that they served during the specified time period, in the specified areas.
Conditions Linked to Agent Orange: The VA has listed certain conditions that they have declared to be related to Agent Orange exposure. For example, if a veteran that served in Vietnam during the qualifying time period and is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, that disease is presumptively service connected. In other words, the veteran does not have to prove service connection. A list of the conditions that are linked to Agent Orange exposure can be found here.
What to do if Condition is Not Linked to Agent Orange: If a veteran has a disease or condition that the VA has not linked to Agent Orange exposure, it does not mean the veteran has no claim. The veteran can still file a claim with the VA, but they will have to prove service connection. A veteran does this by proving that they were exposed to Agent Orange during service, providing medical evidence that they have a current disability, and providing medical evidence that their current disability is caused by Agent Orange Exposure. In other words, the veteran will have to prove direct service connection. Also, veterans that are not entitled to presumptive service connection based on Agent Orange exposure should continue to check the VA’s list of conditions they have linked to Agent Orange exposure because the VA adds conditions to this list periodically.
Support Available for Veteran’s Children: If a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange and then has a child born with certain birth defects, these birth defects will be associated with the veteran’s qualifying exposure to Agent Orange. Birth defects that have been linked to Agent Orange exposure include: spina bifida, cleft palate, congenital heart disease and many others. The affected child must have been conceived after the veteran served in Vietnam during the qualifying service period in order.