Veterans with Agent Orange Exposure
You don’t have to prove actual exposure to AO to be compensated for diseases known to be caused by AO. Those diseases include many common ones such as diabetes, heart disease and many cancers.
If you served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 you are entitled to a presumption that AO caused certain diseases — whether or not you were actually exposed to AO. This means that years after your service, if you come down with one of the diseases on the list, you can be compensated. It does not matter that everyone in your family has the disease and it’s likely that genetics caused it in you.
Furthermore, you don’t have to have been stationed in Vietnam. Sometimes it’s enough if you just change planes there to go somewhere else. It is well-known, for example, that to get to Thailand most planes carrying soldiers from the United States stopped over in Vietnam. Proving the stopover may be enough.
The list of diseases is long and new diseases are being added to it. So, even if you got denied earlier, a change in the rules may benefit you.
Of course, even if you did not set foot in Vietnam, or if your disease is not on the list, you can still prove entitlement to benefits if you can prove actual exposure to AO (such as at Gulfport MS or any other place it was stored), or if your doctor will say that it’s as likely as not that your disease was caused by AO — and the medical literature supports that conclusion.
If you have questions about eligibility based on AO please call us. There are a lot of arcane rules and even if your case does not fall within the usual presumptions, it’s possible that there may be a way to prove your case.
Did you serve in Thailand during the Vietnam War?
Agent Orange was sprayed around Air Force bases in Thailand. From the air you could see large areas of brown where the foliage had been sprayed. Since the government has recognized that AO was sprayed at these bases, there is a special rule that makes it easier to prove exposure to AO. In general, if your job on the base would be expected to bring you in contact with the areas where AO was sprayed, then your statement alone should be enough to prove exposure. Some of the bases had large areas that were sprayed, and many jobs would come in contact with them. The Thailand cases are harder to prove than where there is service on the ground in Vietnam, but the cases can be proven with the right evidence.
Did you serve along the DMZ in Korea?
If you can prove that you served along the DMZ between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971, the AO presumption discussed above applies to you. And, if not, you also can prove actual exposure and obtain benefits that way.