Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2019 – In March, officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said that they had enough evidence to link four new medical conditions to exposure to Agent Orange and that those diseases would be added to the Agent Orange presumptive benefits eligibility list by early summer. To the disappointment of thousands of veterans who could benefit from these additions, no such change has yet been made.
The VA found that a link between exposure to Agent Orange, and other defoliant chemicals used during the Vietnam War era, and (i) hypertension, (ii) bladder cancer, (iii) hypothyroidism and (iv) Parkinson’s-like symptoms exists. These and 14 other medical conditions are on the presumptive benefits eligibility list, which allows veterans to qualify more easily for disability benefits.
“By not keeping its word and adding these conditions to the list, the VA is sending a message to Vietnam veterans who are entitled to these benefits, that they are not a priority,” said Army veteran James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans, a law firm that specializes in veteran disability law. “It is not the message it should be sending to men and women who bravely served our country. This is disappointing and frustrating for them.”
Adding the four new diseases to the list means that many potential new veterans could qualify for disability payments, which would add to the VA’s expenses. That amount could increase dramatically, however, if hypertension is added to the list. High blood pressure becomes a common ailment as people age and is influenced by different factors, like genetics and lifestyle. Vietnam veterans are now in their sixties and older and it could be difficult to tell if hypertension is the result of Agent Orange exposure or something else.
This delay comes just after a decision to put a six-month hold on payments to Blue Water veterans, sailors who served on ships off the coasts of Vietnam during the war, after finally granting them the same consideration for Agent Orange-related benefits as those who served on the ground. To avoid an overwhelming number of initial claims, the VA issued the waiting period. Blue Water veterans will now receive their first payments early next year.
For more information on VA benefits and other veteran disability issues, visit Legal Help for Veterans online at https://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800
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