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VA Makes Announcements On Agent Orange, Particulate Matter Exposure

VA Makes Announcements on Agent Orange, Particulate Matter Exposure

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will soon start processing claims for three new illnesses related to herbicide exposure in Vietnam and other places. In addition, the VA also plans to automatically review all previous claims and denials for the conditions. 

In the coming week, the department will issue a new policy to implement a law that added the following conditions: 

  • Bladder cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Parkinsonism and Parkison’s-like symptoms

Each of these conditions is related to Agent Orange exposure. 

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

Who can file a VA claim for the new Agent Orange Illnesses?

Both Vietnam War-era Veterans and their survivors are entitled to these benefits. Even if the benefits were denied, the Veteran and their surviving dependents may be eligible to receive these benefits. If benefits were denied, the VA will automatically review their cases—without a need to refile the claim. Veterans and survivors impacted by Agent Orange can expect to receive a letter from the VA in the coming weeks.

The VA intends to process listed conditions in a speedy process.

In 2019, Congressman Bruce Westerman introduced a bill that would expand the list of diseases covered by the Vietnam presumption service. 

Particulate Matter Exposures

In addition to Agent Orange diseases, the VA also announced its first iteration of the newly formed internal VA process to review the science of burn pit injuries. This review will support the rulemaking and recommendation to consider the creation of new presumptions related to respiratory illnesses. 

This review process will determine how particulate matter pollution affects chronic respiratory conditions such as: 

  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis 

Should this review support the claims that Veterans are making about the injuries they suffered from burn pits. Those who served in the following will be eligible to receive VA benefits: 

  • In Southwest Asia during the Persian Gulf War
  • After September 19, 2001
  • In Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War

“VA is establishing a holistic approach to determining toxic exposure presumption going forward. We are moving out smartly in initiating action to consider these and other potential new presumptions, grounded in science and in keeping with my authority as Secretary of VA,” said Secretary McDonough.

The VA is hoping that Veterans who were impacted by burn pits will participate in the rulemaking process.

We are Veterans Helping Veterans

The Veteran Legal Assistance Program is here to support veterans and Active-Duty soldiers. In addition to offering valuable information, we are here to amplify the voices of Veterans and their families. If you are in need of assistance, contact the Veterans Legal Assistance Program and let us know how we can help.

We’ve got your six.

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