Disability Compensation for Vietnam Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
Vietnam Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation benefits because of exposure to Agent Orange. This article highlights the eligibility criteria and important information for filing a claim for benefits.
Criteria for Eligibility
In order for a Veteran who served in Vietnam to qualify for disability compensation benefits for a presumption based on exposure to Agent Orange, he or she should have:
- A qualifying medical diagnosis, and
- Proof of service in Vietnam.
Veterans without a qualifying medical diagnosis must show a connection between the disease and herbicide exposure during military service to receive disability compensation.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
Certain conditions qualify as presumptive, service-connected diseases. This means VA presumes they are related to a Veteran’s service in Vietnam. This includes the following conditions:
- Chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne
- Soft-tissue sarcoma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea)
- Multiple myeloma
- Prostate cancer
- Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, now classified as early-onset peripheral neuropathy
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- AL amyloidosis
- Ischemic heart disease
- Chronic B-cell leukemia
- Parkinson’s disease
In order to qualify for benefits, the following conditions must become noticeable to a degree of 10 percent or more within one year of the last date of exposure to Agent Orange:
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Early-onset peripheral neuropathy
There is no time limit for all other listed diseases.
Proof of Service in Vietnam
The Agent Orange Act of 1991 implemented under VA regulations requires “duty or visitation” within the Republic of Vietnam, including its inland waterways, between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, to establish a presumption of Agent Orange exposure.
VA may also pay benefits based on exposure to herbicides for the following categories:
- Veterans who served in a unit that operated in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971;
- Vietnam-era Veterans whose service involved duty on or near the perimeters of certain military bases in Thailand between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975. For more information, see: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/locations/thailand.asp;
- Veterans who operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft from 1969 through 1986. See: https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/agentorange-c123.asp; and
- Other Veterans whose duty outside of Vietnam involved the direct handling of Agent Orange.
Filing Claims based on Agent Orange Exposure
- To file a claim online for disability compensation, visit How To File A VA Disability Claim | Veterans Affairs.
- You may also use VA’s Decision Ready Claim (DRC) program. This allows you to submit claims that are decision-ready so you can get your claim processed as fast as possible.
To submit a DRC, you must:
- Appoint and work with an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO),
- Gather all relevant and required evidence to support your claim, and
- Submit a Disability Benefits Questionnaire completed by your physician, or attend a VA claim exam, if needed, before submitting your 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 do I find an accredited VSO?
To find an accredited VSO near you, go to Get Help Filing Your Claim Or Appeal | Veterans Affairs (va.gov).
For questions regarding VA benefits, call the VA toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000.