Agent Orange Exposure: A must-read for all Vietnam-era veterans - Rep for Vets (2023)

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Agent Orange Exposure: A must-read for all Vietnam-era veterans - Rep for Vets (1)

Our full understanding of the health effects ofOrange agentit has expanded over the years. This also applies to the official VA position on what diseases are caused by Agent Orange and who is entitled to disability benefits. Yet 50 years after the end of the Vietnam War, some veterans are still hoping to reap the benefits of Agent Orange exposure.

In 2021 three new conditions:Bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and parkinsonism- have been added to Agent Orangelist of supposed benefits. This increased disability payments for thousands of Vietnam-era veterans. buthypertensionydementiathat researchers say are linked to Agent Orange exposure are not yet compensable conditions.

In 2020, legislation from Congress made Blue Water Navy veterans eligible for Agent Orange benefits. The VA had previously turned away these veterans who were operating along the waterways of Vietnam. Veterans who served in Thailand and reservists who manned Agent Orange at a handful of US air force bases are also said to have been exposed. A site of toxic exposure that is not yet recognized isGuam. Vietnam-era veterans stationed on Guam used Agent Orange to clear brush around bases. And while these veterans suffer from the same illnesses as their counterparts in Vietnam, they are not afforded the same presumption of service affiliation.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the latest developments on the front lines of the fight for Agent Orange profits. If you need a refresher on what Agent Orange is, how it affects the body, etc., continue onfrequent questionssection at the end of the article.

Hypertension and exposure to Agent Orange

Health advocates have long claimed that there is a strong link between high blood pressure, more commonly known as high blood pressure, and Agent Orange exposure. But it's not on the putative list of illnesses and conditions automatically assumed to be service-connected in Vietnam. Right now, veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange and have high blood pressure must overcome an additional bureaucratic hurdle by proving a direct connection to the service.

The Real Cost of War Recognition Act, introduced by Congress in May 2021, aims to address the long-term effects ofburn wells, the Agent Orange of the post-9/11 generation. The bill would also help Vietnam veterans sufferinghigh blood pressure. If approved, the hypertension is presumed to be service-related, allowing for an estimate160,000 veterans to qualify for additional disability benefits.

There is no shortage of research showing a link between Agent Orange exposure and high blood pressure. VA officials say more testing is needed. One of the reasons hypertension was removed from the list of suspects could be the price. If high blood pressure is included on the list, the VA would pay up to $15 billion in new disability payments to veterans.

Bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism were added to the list of purported benefits

Most of the advances in Agent Orange benefits have been made through Congressional legislation rather than VA's internal processes. For that reason, we're optimistic that a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress last year that would completely change the way VA treats illnesses caused by toxic exposures. The Real Cost of War Recognition Act would make it easier for toxin-exposed veterans to receive purported disability benefits when there is scientific evidence of an association.

In 2021, bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism were added to the list of diseases believed to be related to Agent Orange (also known as the putative list). Parkinsonism was added to recognize the disabling effects of Parkinson's disease-like symptoms that do not meet full criteria for a diagnosis.

In addition to these three, the VA already recognizes 14 other conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange. Is it so:

  • AL-Amyloidosis
  • Chronic B-cell leukemias
  • chloracne
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • morbus hodgkin
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease
  • peripheral neuropathy, early onset
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • respiratory cancer
  • soft tissue sarcomas

Why is the service connection assumption so important?

A presumptive service connection is important because it allows the VA to bypass the "Nexus" requirement, which means you don't need a doctor to say that all of your symptoms stem from a specific event or events that occur during your assignment abroad. In other words, it goes through a layer of red tape. The requirements for a presumptive service connection for Vietnam Veterans are as follows:

  • Do you qualify as a veteran of the Vietnam War?
  • They have served in Vietnam or its waterways.
  • Have a qualifying chronic disability
  • The disability first arose during your active assignment abroad or at least 10% disability since your return from duty

If you believe you have been exposed to Agent Orange and have cancer or another serious illness that is not on the list of presumed benefits, you may still be entitled to benefits. Get in touch with aVA Certified Claims Specialist with Veterinary Representativetoday to help you get the benefits you deserve.

Agent Orange Exposure: A must-read for all Vietnam-era veterans - Rep for Vets (2)

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Dementia and exposure to Agent Orange

As Vietnam-era veterans age, doctors and researchers are seeing more and more cases of dementia. Scientists have long known that several types of cancer—lung cancer, bladder cancer, and even brain cancer—are more common in people exposed to Agent Orange. The link between dementia and Agent Orange is a recent finding.

VA researchers have found that veterans exposed to Agent Orange are 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with a memory disorder such as dementia. Dementia is a serious condition that can leave you needyhelp and assistancefor help meeting your basic needs.

Dementia occurs in at least 4 unique forms, and symptoms range from cognitive effects to loss of muscle coordination.

  • cognitive- Memory loss, mental confusion
  • behave– Irritability, lack of control, restlessness
  • state of mind– Anxiety, mood swings, nervousness
  • psychological- Depression, hallucinations and paranoia
  • muscular– Loss of coordination, unsteady gait

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's worth getting checked out by a VA doctor to determine if it could be related to your service in Vietnam or another country involved in the conflict.

Need help with your Agent Orange claim? Call us today at1-888-573-7838, or click the button below to schedule a free consultation.

Arrange my free evaluation

Receive disability benefits for service-connected dementia

To receive dementia benefits, the veteran must have medical records showing that the dementia is service-connected.

If the veteran suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while on duty or was diagnosed with PTSD or depression upon return, their risk of developing dementia is much higher and therefore likely related to the service.

The link between Agent Orange exposure and dementia is less understood, but research shows a correlation. AStudy published in 2021in themAmerican Journal of Medicinediscovered that veterans are exposed to Agent Orangetwice as likely to develop dementia, compared to veterans who were not exposed. This is a very important new finding. If more research confirms these findings, it will be much easier for veterans who develop dementia as a result of Agent Orange exposure to assert their disability claims and receive the benefits they deserve.

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans are eligible for contingent benefits

By 2020, only Vietnam veterans who met VA's Boots on the Ground requirement were believed to have been exposed to the herbicide. That changed with the passage of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which expanded the presumption of exposure to the waters off Vietnam, making an estimated 62,000 more veterans eligible for benefits.

we wrote about itBlue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019if you are interested in learning more.

Agent Orange Exposure: A must-read for all Vietnam-era veterans - Rep for Vets (3)

The truth about exposure to Agent Orange in Guam

While the use of Agent Orange is most commonly associated with Vietnam, tens of thousands of military personnel stationed on Guam may have been exposed to the toxic herbicide. Despite the official VA position that Agent Orange was not used on Guam, or was only used "commercially," evidence suggests that Agent Orange was used on Guam during the Vietnam War, particularly a 2020 report from the National Veterans Legal Services Program and Veterans Legal Services. Clinic at Yale Law School.

The clearest evidence that Guam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange is the fact that they suffer from the same cancers and diseases as their counterparts who served elsewhere.

One obstacle to the Agent Orange exposure claims for Guam veterans was the VA position that Agent Orange was used "commercially" there (to clear vegetation around bases), while in Vietnam it was used "tactically." "(to provide cover for the enemy and food supplies to destroy). . On that basis, a distinction without distinction, the VA denies Guam veterans a presumption of exposure to Agent Orange and entitlement to disability benefits.

If you believe you were exposed to Agent Orange while serving on Guam between 1958 and 1980, you are eligible for disability benefits. Securing these benefits can be more difficult, but they are worth fighting for. For now, Guam veterans must prove their direct connection to the service by providing medical evidence and presenting evidence.

The positive decisions by the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) awarding benefits to Guam veterans were based on consistent testimony from veterans about their exposure to Agent Orange while serving on Guam.

Here at Rep for Vets, we don't like the idea of ​​leaving some veterans behind. That's what we fight forAllVeterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam era are getting the benefits they deserve.

Call us today at(888) 573-7838for a free consultation on your Agent Orange-related claim, or complete this formquick shapeto start. We appreciate any help we can.

Arrange my free evaluation


Frequently Asked Questions About Agent Orange

What is Agent Orange?

Agent Orange is a herbicide used to destroy enemy cover and food supplies in mainland Vietnam, the Korean DMZ, and Guam. It was used to clear vegetation where Vietnamese fighters hid and to reduce the Viet Cong's food supply. Agent Orange contains a chemical called dioxin which is very harmful to the body in general.

How does Agent Orange affect the body?

The most destructive chemical in Agent Orange is dioxin. Dioxin affects several different organ systems. Once dioxin enters the body, it stays for a long time due to its chemical composition. Chemically, it is a very stable toxin. It is stored in adipose tissue and is then absorbed throughout the body. This is why Agent Orange/Dioxin exposure is so widespread in its destruction of the body, causing everything from cancer to respiratory and neurological diseases.

How many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange?

The VA estimates that 2.6 million veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, but other studies suggest that the actual number of veterans exposed to Agent Orange is much higher than government estimates.

We usually associate Agent Orange with those who fought in the jungles of Vietnam. But the new laws (Blue Water) and all kinds of work by veterans' organizations have made it known that there are US troops outside of mainland Vietnam who have been exposed.

US troops and reservists serving in the Korean DMZ, Army and Air Force bases in Thailand, and some US Air Force bases were exposed to Agent Orange. There is also lay evidence showing that Agent Orange was widely sprayed at bases in Guam.

What are the 14 Agent Orange diseases currently believed to be service-connected?

  • AL-Amyloidosis
  • bladder cancer -nuevo
  • Chronic B-cell leukemias
  • chloracne
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • morbus hodgkin
  • hypothyroidism -nuevo
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinsonism –nuevo
  • peripheral neuropathy, early onset
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • respiratory cancer
  • soft tissue sarcomas

What is the average salary of Agent Orange?

A single veteran who is totally disabled from Agent Orange-related illnesses is paid about $3,146 per month. If you have dependents, this monthly number increases. The VA uses a disability rating system to allocate benefits. Learnhow to calculate your degree of disabilityHere.

Photo above: Veteran of the 173rd Airborne Brigade | Credit:Robert Couse Bakervia Flickr


Were all Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange? ›

For the purposes of VA compensation benefits, Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, as specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Is there a test for exposure to Agent Orange? ›

Unfortunately, there's no medical test or biological feature that can show that someone was exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides, so the health exam cannot confirm that you were (or were not) exposed.

What are the three new presumptive conditions for Agent Orange? ›

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Agent Orange and Presumptive Conditions
  • Bladder cancer.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Parkinsonism.
3 Nov 2022

Were US soldiers compensated if they were exposed to Agent Orange? ›

We base eligibility for VA disability compensation benefits, in part, on whether you served in a location that exposed you to Agent Orange. We call this having a presumption of exposure. You have a presumption of exposure if you meet at least one of these service requirements.

How much do Veterans get for Agent Orange exposure? ›

During its operation, the Settlement Fund distributed a total of $197 million in cash payments to members of the class in the United States. Of the 105,000 claims received by the Payment Program, approximately 52,000 Vietnam Veterans or their survivors received cash payments which averaged about $3,800 each.

How do I know if I'm on the Agent Orange registry? ›

Find your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator and contact them about getting an Agent Orange Registry health exam today! For more information about the Agent Orange Registry health exam, visit

What's the difference between a Vietnam veteran and a Vietnam era veteran? ›

Vietnam era veterans are those who served during the time of the Vietnam war but didn't set foot in the country of Vietnam. The Vietnam vet is one who was assigned within the combat zone of the country and it's surrounding waters.

What are the 14 diseases associated with Agent Orange? ›

Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.
  • AL Amyloidosis. ...
  • Bladder Cancer. ...
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemias. ...
  • Chloracne (or similar acneform disease) ...
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. ...
  • Hypertension.
  • Hodgkin's Disease. ...
  • Hypothyroidism.
12 Oct 2022

How long does Agent Orange stay active? ›

Agent Orange was sprayed at up to 20 times the concentration the manufacturers recommended for killing plants. It defoliated millions of acres of forests and farmland. Large tracts of that land remain degraded and unproductive to this day. The chemical dioxin in Agent Orange can remain toxic in the soil for decades.

What are secondary conditions to Agent Orange? ›

Veterans can be service-connected for peripheral neuropathy as secondary to their already service-connected diabetes mellitus type II that is due to Agent Orange exposure. Other conditions that are commonly secondary to diabetes include diabetic retinopathy, erectile dysfunction, and kidney disease.

Who is eligible for Agent Orange compensation? ›

Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam while on active duty are eligible for disability compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as long as they were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

Are Agent Orange benefits retroactive? ›

Blue Water Back Pay Errors. VA has been awarding benefits to Vietnam veterans for any conditions related to Agent Orange for decades. When Congress passed new legislation that expanded coverage to the veterans who served on offshore ships, VA did not award retroactive benefits beyond the passage of that law.

Are all Vietnam veterans eligible for VA benefits? ›

Vietnam Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial.

How can you prove you served in Vietnam? ›

These can include Department of Defense form 214 (called the DD 214 or Separation Documents, which record a discharge), personnel records from the person's Official Military Personnel File, and medical records.

How long does it take to process an Agent Orange claim? ›

When you work with an accredited VSO and provide all the necessary evidence with your application, you can get a decision on your claim in 30 days or less.

How much money do Vietnam veterans get? ›

For veterans who received VA's disability payments in addition to their other income, the average annual payment was $18,100. Those disability payments made their income higher than other veterans' income, on average.

How to apply for Agent Orange exposure? ›

There are three ways to apply for VA disability benefits based on Agent Orange exposure:
  1. Online, using the website.
  2. Over the phone, with the help of a VA representative or agent.
  3. In person at a regional VA office.

Is neuropathy a symptom of Agent Orange? ›

VA presumes Veterans' early-onset peripheral neuropathy is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service when the disease appears within one year of exposure to a degree of at least 10 percent disabling by VA's rating regulations.

How does the VA determine Agent Orange disability? ›

There are no diagnostic tests that can determine if you were exposed to Agent Orange, so the VA relies on your service records. If you can show that you served during a timeframe and/or location where Agent Orange was used, your condition will be automatically presumed to be the result of your military service.

Does Agent Orange change your DNA? ›

The constituents of Agent Orange are capable of producing gene mutations and chromosomal aberrations, at least in some experimental circumstances. TCDD and 2,4,5-T are teratogenic in mice and perhaps in other mammals, but the teratogenicity of these chemicals has not been convincingly demonstrated in humans.

What medals can a Vietnam era veteran wear? ›

The Vietnam Service Medal replaces the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM), which was awarded for service in Vietnam from 1961 to 1965. Service stars are permitted as attachments worn on the Vietnam Service Medal for recipients who participated in multiple campaigns during the Vietnam War.

Do Vietnam vets get more Social Security? ›

In general, Vietnam veterans received more money from Social Security and retirement plans than nonveterans; nonveterans had more earnings and more investment income.

What years qualify for a Vietnam era veteran? ›

Vietnam War era (November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)

Can Agent Orange be passed to offspring? ›

There is currently no definitive evidence that a father's exposure to Agent Orange causes birth defects. However, an analysis of Agent Orange registry data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) suggests a link between males' exposure to Agent Orange and having children with certain birth defects.

What is the VA presumptive list? ›

What is “Presumptive” Service Connection? VA automatically presumes that certain disabilities were caused by military service. This is because of the unique circumstances of a specific Veteran's military service.

What were 4 different long term effects of Agent Orange? ›

Bladder Cancer. Chronic B-cell Leukemias. Chloracne. Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

Does Agent Orange ever leave the body? ›

The dioxin TCDD, the harmful contaminant of Agent Orange, can stay in the human body for decades. It is believed to have a chemical half-life of seven to 11 years. This means that half the concentration of TCDD will break down or otherwise be flushed from the body within that time span.

What does Agent Orange do to the brain? ›

The harmful ingredient in Agent Orange is dioxin. Dioxin can remain in adipose tissue for decades after exposure. Dioxin could have a direct toxic effect on the brain or could act indirectly by impairing blood circulation or increasing the risk of other diseases that, in turn, increase dementia risk.”

Does Agent Orange ever go away? ›

Agent Orange has a short half-life of days and weeks after application to vegetation, and has not been found to persist, after 50 years, in the water or soils of southern Vietnam.

How far back does VA retroactive pay go? ›

An effective date for an increased-rating claim may date back as much as one year before the date of the claim for increase if it is factually ascertainable that an increase in disability had occurred within that timeframe.

How far back will VA disability pay? ›

The VA typically only pays disability compensation going back to the date of discharge to veterans who apply for their VA disability benefits within one year of being discharged.

How far back can you claim VA disability? ›

You can file a claim up to 180 days before leaving the service: If you have 180-90 days left on active duty, you may be able to file a pre-discharge claim through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program.

Do Veterans get extra money from Social Security? ›

Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record.

What are the 4 types of Veterans? ›

Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''

How long do you have to be in the military to be considered a veteran? ›

A minimum service requirement exists. Service members must have served a minimum of 24 months of active duty to be considered a veteran. If the service member becomes disabled because of their time in the service, there is no minimum length of service to qualify for VA benefits.

Are you a veteran if you served but didn't go to war? ›

The term "veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

Who qualifies for the Vietnam Service Medal? ›

This medal is awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who: 1. Served for six months in South Vietnam during the period March 1, 1961 to March 28, 1973.

How can you tell if someone is a Vietnam veteran? ›

In most cases it will be listed on he DD214 in Box 26, "Decorations, Medals, Badges, Commendations, Citations and Campaign Ribbons Awarded or Authorized." It can also be found in the OMPF (Official Military Personnel File) - aka Service Jacket - on the page "History of Assignments" or something similar.

What is the average payout for Agent Orange? ›

Of the 105,000 claims received by the Payment Program, approximately 52,000 Vietnam Veterans or their survivors received cash payments which averaged about $3,800 each.

How much does the VA pay for Agent Orange exposure? ›

If you, your spouse, or a parent was exposed to Agent Orange during their military service and developed cancer or another medical condition listed below, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $39,000 per year in tax-free VA benefits.

How many Vietnam vets have Agent Orange? ›

How many veterans have been exposed to Agent Orange? The VA estimates that 2.6 million veterans have been exposed to Agent Orange, but there are also other studies that indicate that the actual number of veterans exposed to Agent Orange is much higher than what the government is reporting.

Why were Vietnam vets treated poorly when returned? ›

A chilly reception. Some people who opposed American involvement in the Vietnam War treated U.S. soldiers and veterans poorly. They tended to blame American troops for the tragic situation in Vietnam, instead of blaming the government leaders who had sent them there.

How many Vietnam veterans have been affected by Agent Orange? ›

The Vietnam Memorial lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died overseas. However, the wall does not document any names of the estimated 2.8 million U.S. vets who were exposed to the poisonous chemical while serving and later died.

How old should a Vietnam vet be today? ›

Today, Vietnam Veterans range in age from 61 to 103 years old.

How old is the average Vietnam vet now? ›

Nearly nine million Americans served during the Vietnam War Era, and as of the 2020 Census, they are the largest cohort of veterans in America, with an estimated 6.4 million living vets at a median age of 71.

What is the divorce rate for Vietnam vets? ›

Related to impaired relationship functioning, a high rate of separation and divorce exists in the veteran population (those with PTSD and those without PTSD). Approximately 38% of Vietnam veteran marriages failed within six months of the veteran's return from Southeast Asia.

What state has the most Vietnam vets? ›

Today, the state with highest number of Vietnam veterans is California, with 596,130, followed by Florida with 519,224.
Vietnam Veterans by State 2022
  • South Carolina - 2,552 per 100k.
  • New Mexico - 2,537 per 100k.
  • Arizona - 2,524 per 100k.
  • Delaware - 2,517 per 100k.
  • New Hampshire - 2,498 per 100k.

What were Vietnam veterans called? ›

However, the more common usage distinguishes between those who served "in-country" and those who did not serve in Vietnam by referring to the "in-country" veterans as "Vietnam veterans" and the others as "Vietnam-era veterans". Regardless, the U.S. government officially refers to all as "Vietnam-era veterans".

What is the difference between a Vietnam veteran and a Vietnam era veteran? ›

Vietnam era veterans are those who served during the time of the Vietnam war but didn't set foot in the country of Vietnam. The Vietnam vet is one who was assigned within the combat zone of the country and it's surrounding waters.


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