B cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic heart disease are now presumptive diseases / illnesses for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
On October 13, 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs in a news release announced the VA is extending VA benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange.
The October 13, 2009, VA news release states an “estimated 2.6 million” veterans were exposed to the herbicide commonly referred to as Agent Orange. Secretary Shinseki declared “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.” An independent study concluded these illnesses/diseases are directly related to Agent Orange exposure.
The significance of the VA including these 3 new illnesses as presumptive disabilities resulting from Agent Orange exposure, the veteran does not have to prove a connection between their military service and the resulting disease. The veteran, however, must have been exposed to Agent Orange. Therefore, a veteran who is exposed to Agent Orange, as proven by being in the Army and in country (in Vietnam), the veteran has been exposed to AO. Inclusion of the presumptive disease / illness means the veteran is presumed to have a service-connected disability if he has one of the presumptive diseases.
Service and exposure coupled with a current disability is now a service-connected disability.
The full list of presumptive diseases / illnesses associated with Agent Orange includes:
1. B cell leukemias;
2. Parkinson’s disease;
3. ischemic heart disease;
4. Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy;
5. AL Amyloidosis;
7. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia;
8. Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2);
9. Hodgkin’s Disease;
10. Multiple Myeloma 11. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 12. Porphyria Cutanea Tarda 13. Prostate Cancer 14. Respiratory Cancers, and
15. Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
The effective date is the original claim date the veteran filed the Claim for VA Benefits for one of these new presumptive diseases / illnesses. If you were previously denied VA benefits claim for a B cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, or ischemic heart disease you have a current claim.