In this session, Hill & Ponton Attorney Ursula delves deep into the crucial topic of service connection for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
While this transcript provides an overview, we always recommend viewing the full video for a comprehensive understanding.
Dive in to learn more about the ways veterans can establish service connections and the specific conditions recognized by the VA due to Agent Orange exposure.
Background on Agent Orange
While Agent Orange exposure isn’t the entire focus of this video, it’s important to understand its significance.
If a veteran served in an area with presumptive Agent Orange exposure during specific time frames, they could be eligible for service connection for disabilities stemming from that exposure.
Ways to Get Service Connected for Disabilities
- Direct Service Connection: If a veteran has a condition not on the presumptive list (e.g., a type of cancer not currently linked to Agent Orange exposure), they can still prove a direct service connection. This would require showing that the condition was due to exposure to dioxin and Agent Orange during military service.
- Secondary Service Connection: Often, we see conditions arise or worsen due to an already service-connected condition. For instance, hypertension could lead to cardiovascular diseases or kidney issues. These conditions can also be connected secondarily.
- Presumptive Service Connection: If a veteran served in a designated area during a specific time and is diagnosed with a condition, the VA will presume that the condition is linked to Agent Orange exposure. No additional information is needed to prove that the condition started during service.
Important Note: Just because a condition isn’t on the presumptive list doesn’t mean you can’t get service connected. It means the process might differ.
List of Presumptively Service-Connected Conditions
The VA has an extensive list of conditions they’ve linked to Agent Orange exposure.
With the introduction of the PACT Act, new conditions have also been added.
If you have one of these conditions and served in a designated area during a designated period, your condition is automatically presumed to be related to your Agent Orange exposure.
Here is a list of conditions that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes as “presumptive diseases” associated with exposure to Agent Orange:
- AL Amyloidosis: A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters and settles in tissues or organs.
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias: A type of cancer affecting white blood cells.
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease): A skin condition occurring soon after exposure to chemicals and that may last for years.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: A condition where the body doesn’t produce or use insulin well.
- Hodgkin’s Disease: A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen.
- Ischemic Heart Disease: A heart condition caused by a reduced blood supply to the heart.
- Multiple Myeloma: A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: A group of cancers affecting lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.
- Parkinson’s Disease: A progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement.
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset: A nervous system condition causing numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Only considered under certain conditions.
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda: A disorder affecting the liver and skin.
- Prostate Cancer: Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men.
- Respiratory Cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea): Cancers affecting the respiratory system.
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma): A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood vessels, etc.
Visit our YouTube Channel for exclusive video content about VA disability benefits. Tune in at 1400 Hours EST on Wednesdays to our Live Stream, where our experts answer the questions you have about the process.
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