VA expands benefits for vets exposed to Agent Orange

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will expand benefits for disability claims related to conditions caused by certain toxic exposures including Agent Orange. It also includes three new qualifying medical conditions related to the chemical.

VA will begin implementing provisions of the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, adding three conditions to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to herbicide agents, more commonly known as Agent Orange. Those conditions are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism.

“Many of our Nation’s Veterans have waited a long time for these benefits,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “VA will not make them wait any longer. This is absolutely the right thing to do for Veterans and their families.”

VA will apply the provisions of court orders related to Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which may result in an earlier date for entitlement to benefits for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Vietnam War era Veterans and their survivors, who previously filed and were denied benefits for one of these three new presumptive conditions, will have their cases automatically reviewed without the need to refile a claim. VA will send letters to impacted Veterans and survivors.

The VA is also looking into setting rules to address vets suffering from conditions related to particulate matter. Those condition may include asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis.

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