Children who have spina bifida or certain other birth defects and are biological children of Veterans with qualifying service in Vietnam or Korea may be eligible for a range of VA benefits, starting with compensation, a monthly monetary allowance based on the child’s degree of disability.
After VA determines eligibility for compensation, we offer these additional benefits:
- Health care benefits, which VA finances to cover the necessary treatment of spina bifida and related conditions.
- Vocational training, which provides up to 24 months of full-time training, rehabilitation and job assistance with the possibility of an extension up to 24 months if needed to achieve the employment goal. The child may not begin vocational training before his or her 18th birthday or the date he or she completes secondary schooling, whichever comes first.
Complete VA Form 21-0304 (457 KB, PDF) to apply for all three benefits.
Eligibility for benefits
There are different eligibility requirements for children with spina bifida and children with other birth defects.
The birth defect must have resulted in a permanent physical or mental disability.
The covered birth defects do not include conditions due to family disorders, birth-related injuries, or fetal or neonatal infirmities with well-established causes.
Vietnam and Korea Veterans’ children with spina bifida
Children who have spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta) and are biological children of Veterans who served in Vietnam or in the demilitarized zone in Korea during the Vietnam era may be eligible if the birth father or mother served:
- In Vietnam during the period from January 9, 1962 through May 7, 1975, or
- In or near the Korean demilitarized zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971 and were exposed to herbicides. Veterans who served in a unit in or near the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) anytime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.
The affected child must have been conceived after the Veteran first entered Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone during the qualifying service period.
Women Vietnam Veterans’ children with other birth defects
Children who have certain birth defects and are biological children of women Veterans who served in Vietnam may be eligible if the birth mother served in Vietnam during the period beginning February 28, 1961 and ending on May 7, 1975.
The affected child must have been conceived after the Veteran first entered Vietnam during the qualifying service period.
Apply for benefits for birth defects
Complete VA Form 21-0304 (457 KB, PDF), Application for Benefits for Certain Children with Disabilities born of Vietnam and Certain Korea Service Veterans.
Mail the completed form to the address on the form.
Questions? Call toll-free 1-888-820-1756 or 1-800-829-4833 (TDD for hearing impaired).
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