In a recent action, the Veterans Administration increased the list of presumptive diseases that meet the conditions for VA benefits. Texas veterans may have served in Vietnam; now they will no longer have to prove exposure to Agent Orange if a diagnosis of bladder cancer, hypothyroidism or Parkinsonism is present.
They will award disability benefits if one served in a country where Agent Orange was in use. This extends to atypical Parkinsonism, which includes a broader array of conditions that is the standard of Parkinson’s.
This was a herbicide mix used by the military during the Vietnam War. It contained a chemical called dioxin, a dangerous substance. They sprayed Agent Orange at up to 20 times the concentration the manufacturers recommended for killing plants. It was in order to defoliate the farmland and forests.
Consideration will now be in place for atypical Parkinsonism. There is no longer a need to show loss of nerve cells in the brain that signifies Parkinson’s disease. Approval of VA disability will come faster, because of this change.
Respiratory diseases now included
Conditions related to breathing, such as asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis are now added to the list. They are associated with military service in the areas of Southwest Asia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War. This is also after 9/11. Particulate matter pollution is also receiving consideration.
Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans may continue
Until the new rules receive final approval, Gulf War and post-9/11 vets may still get disability compensation. They will need to present evidence of service connection and exposure to the chemical. Once presumptive eligibility receives approval their claims will receive action quickly.
The VA is extending the list of presumptive conditions. Veterans will not have to prove exposure to Agent Orange to receive service-related benefits, if they have certain diseases.