What Every Veteran Should Know About Agent Orange Benefits

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2016
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From 1962 to 1971 during the Vietnam War, the U.S. military conducted “Operation Ranch Hand,” spraying more than 19 million gallons of specially engineered herbicide combinations to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover.

The so-called “Agent Orange” herbicide was the tactical weapon of choice – receiving its nickname from the large What Every Veteran Should Know About Agent Orange Benefits; VeteranAid.orgorange containers it was stored in – and the heaviest areas of spraying were forests near the demarcation zone and at the junction of the borders of Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam, as well as the mangroves on the southernmost peninsula of Vietnam and along shipping channels southeast of Saigon.

Unfortunately, along with the dense vegetation, hundreds of U.S. “brownwater veterans” received contact with Agent Orange, along with other veterans who may have helped manufacture, transport, or store the herbicides. In fact, many of the C-123 planes that were used to spray Agent Orange were later reassigned to reserve units in the U.S. for routine cargo and medical evacuation missions spanning the next 10 years.

Potential Agent Orange Side Effects

TCDD, the toxic substance in Agent Orange, could be inhaled as an aerosol, ingested by contaminated food or water, or contracted from hand-to-mouth transfer. The negative side-effects of this contact is still been researched and understood today, but the list of potential related diseases include:

  • AL Amyloidosis
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemias
  • Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Respiratory Cancers (including lung cancer)
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas
  • Spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta) in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange

How to Get Health Exam for Agent Orange

Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone, or other areas where Agent Orange was sprayed or stored may be eligible for a free Agent Orange Registry health exam, a full range of medical benefits, and treatment at War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Veterans’ dependents and survivors may also be eligible for some of these benefits.

The Agent Orange Registry exam is particularly helpful for a veteran who would like to learn more about the potential results of exposure, and can aid in the ongoing research about Agent Orange diseases. The exam is free of charge to the veteran, with no copay, and you do not have to be registered with the VA. While the exam is not a disability exam and does not officially confirm exposure, it does include an exposure history based on the veteran’s recollections, a medical history, physical exam, and any tests if needed. A VA health professional will discuss the results face-to-face with the veteran and in a follow-up letter, and a veteran can participate in an additional Registry exam at a later date if new problems develop.

How to Apply for Agent Orange Benefits

Veterans who want to be officially considered for Agent Orange-related disability compensation must file a claim for that benefit. During the claims process, the VA will check military records to confirm exposure and qualifying military service, and possibly set up a separate exam for compensation. Each state, along with the Philippines and Puerto Rico, is assigned an Environmental Health Coordinator who can help answer questions and assist a veteran in taking the next step.

Besides Agent Orange benefits, a veteran should also make sure to look into the Aid and Attendance pension benefit that can help veterans and/or spouses help pay for costs of senior care. Please find out if you are eligible and educate yourself on how to apply.

Written by Megan Hammons

 

19 Responses to “What Every Veteran Should Know About Agent Orange Benefits”

  1. william wise says:

    how do you get a exam I was in gu ghi in 1968 and I know we got spray I was in the 25 inf at cu chi and was sent to can toe please l let me know I have ischemic heart disease and DIABETES MELLITUS TYPE 2

  2. Kaylin says:

    William,
    You need to go to your local VA medical center to set up an exam. I would call them ahead of time to make sure you are going to the right location.

  3. Paul Oser sr. says:

    Is Bladder Cancer being looked at. I have had 30 operations since 1999, I was on Guam from March 65 to October .66 I painted pipe lines and other war effort duties. I also have heart and back problems.

  4. Kaylin says:

    Paul,
    You could always contact your local VA medical center and inquire about the bladder cancer. I am so sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Hopefully a local VA medical facility or VSO could help point you in the right direction.

  5. Jack Lester says:

    I never served in the military. But my dad Jerdon Lester did. He served 10 years in the Marines. He got out in 1977. He did two tours in veitam. And my dad was diagnose with agent Orange. He never had any cancer. And with them saying that cancer is a symptom. I have heard agent Orange is another type of cancer. And he passed away on 3-11-11 from agent Orange. He had high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, high clestoral and glaucoma. I have been to VA for help. I have every symptom that my dad had besides glaucoma. And I have been told by a pain clinic doctor that my back is so far gone that there is nothing they can do to help me besides giving me pain medicine. I feel like the kids of american Vietnam veterans are being thrown to the sides. and the Vietnam kids are being treated better then us. I know it sounds like I am complaining and I am. I don't know what else to do. I have called my congressman and was told we are trying to do something to help. I was told that 3 years ago and all I hear is the same thing. We are trying to get a law pass to help children of Vietnam veterans. And if they would stop setting on their brains and really do something about. Maybe our hero's kids can get the help we deserve because someone decided to spread a weed killer that ended up killing our veterans. And then bring it back to their kids and grandbabies. And now the kids and grandbabies suffering because a few scientists messed up. If you have any device that will help me. please let me know. Thank you for reading this and God bless.

  6. Kaylin says:

    Jack,

    I am so sorry to hear of your situation. It's not fair that the children of the Vietnam veterans who fought for our country during the war are not suffering from Agent Orange side effects as well. I wish there was another way I knew to help. I'm glad you got in touch with your Senator. I would continue to send him letters, emails, and/or phone calls to make sure this issue is not forgotten. Also, I'm sure you've been here to look this over, but the VA has this page devoted to Agent Orange benefits: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-postservice-agent_orange.asp

  7. Kaylin says:

    Dennis,

    I would recommend you check this page here: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/index.asp
    Start there to see if you think your diseases could be associated with Agent Orange and make an appointment with a local VA to get an exam specifically for relation to Agent Orange.

  8. Robert mock says:

    I have high blood pressure,high cholesterol, and pre diabetic, could any of this be from Agent Orange? Vietnam 68-69-70.

  9. Kaylin says:

    Robert,

    It very well could be. I would make sure to go to this website that the VA has set up to see if you think you should apply for AO benefits.
    http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/index.asp

  10. I just lost a kidney and ureter to my second bladder cancer. The first time I was in surgery within 3 weeks and BCG treatments a month after that. This time I went through the VA and they did little until I finally had to lose my kidney and ureter because the tumor had grown so large it broke through the ureter wall. I currently have a 70% rating for isclemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a hearing loss. My non-VA physician is positive the Bladder Cancer is a result of agent orange exposure. Today the county VA rep and the American Legion Representative both said they don't want to get involved if it's not on the presumptive list. How sad when the people that should help Veterans don't want to get involved because it might be difficult.

  11. Terry. says:

    Are brain tumors results of agent Orange. Two tours if Viet Nam then terminal brain tumor at age 35

  12. Kaylin says:

    Terry, I do believe brain tumors are on the list of possible side effects of Agent Orange. I would definitely check into it if I were you. I am so sorry to hear of your situation.

  13. Vernon Thomas says:

    I stopped in Vietnam enroute to Thailand in 1974,
    serving in USAF and back to Vietnam enroute to U.S. in 1975. Do
    Do I qualify for agent orange compensation?

  14. Kaylin says:

    Vernon, you need to check the websites we have listed here for the best resources for you.

  15. Was in nam in 69, I was a recon scout. We had about 7 jeeps and would drive to a certain location, then on foot, scout the area. I remember one week, we were told to empty what looked like 55 gal drums. I , as well as others, open the small round tops with pliers. The drums were put in the back of a jeep and the driver drove thru the jungle. We then tried to light the liquid, it puff thru the jungle but did not start a fire. After that, we walk thru the same area. I remember washing my hands afterwords. But never thought anything about it, for we were told it was just weed killer. No big deal. I lost an uncle to agent orange, he filled, but never got any compensation for he had no symptoms. When at age 77 he had a hard time breathing and when he went to the VA, they told him it was from smoking when he was young. After a few months of doctors they told him he was getting worse, but never said it had anything to do with agent orange. Then one day, he got really bad and ended up in the VA hospital. After they did there test........Bingo !!!! They said he had agent orange. He then got all this money back pay and so on........He told me, bobby I told them years ago I was having problems but they said, not related to agent orange. Back then I could still move and visit friends and family. I now have a few months to live, what the hell good is all that money gonna do me now ?? After I went back home to Ohio, I never got to see my uncle again. My aunt ( His wife ) told me, he was in and out of the VA hospital so much, that he gave up, he was so tired and did not want to keep going on like this. I am ready to be with my Lord Jesus Christ. A few days later, he passed away. I myself am 69 and in a few months 70. I have been for some time now, having problems with my nervous system. who knows what else. But, I now know, the game will go on with us, when it's to late, they will say.....Oh !! you have agent Orange !!...................God Bless you all.........Bobby........( Sorry, for my grammar and spelling. )

  16. Kaylin says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Bobby. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  17. Peggy hawkins says:

    My husband died of polythecemia and aml in2006. Where do I start.

  18. Kaylin says:

    Peggy, are you asking if you would be eligible for the Aid and Attendance pension benefit? Are you currently paying for senior care or looking to find senior care in the near future? If so, the A&A benefit can help you cover some of those care costs. We have a free eligibility calculator that can help you determine if you might be eligible: https://www.veteranaid.org/aid-and-attendance-eligibility.php

  19. Joe says:

    Already receiving VA disability for my heart disease from Agent Orange documented exposure. Just found out this week I have Kidney cancer and will need surgery/treatment.
    I found some vets were awarded for kidney cancer, some not.
    Is there something I should do to help document this is due to AO exposure?
    I've seen studies by AUA linking the two but not on recognized list yet, how can I help get it on the list?

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