As many veterans in Saint Louis, Missouri, may know, Agent Orange was a defoliating agent that the military used during the conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, and at certain other bases in the 1960s and 1970s. Over time, research revealed that exposure to Agent Orange could lead to serious health complications. Therefore, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) began offering certain benefits to those veterans who were affected by the chemical. Details of those benefits were discussed in the previous blog post.
Unfortunately, those people who served in the past were not the only ones affected by Agent Orange. After those wars, the military used the same C-123 aircraft for various peace time missions. Sadly, traces of the chemical remained in the aircraft and the veterans who served during peace time missions were affected by it. Eventually, after prolonged advocacy, the VA agreed to include those veterans in their list of prospective recipients of veterans’ benefits for health complications caused by Agent Orange.
In order to be eligible for benefits related to Agent Orange when the military service member was not in Vietnam or Korea, a veteran must fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
- The veteran served on or near certain military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
- The veteran served in military facilities where Agent Orange was tested or stored.
- The veteran was a crew member on the C-123 aircraft that was used after the Vietnam War.
- The veteran was associated with the Department of Defense’s projects during testing, storage and disposal of the chemical.
Just as it was with other veterans’ issues, it is important to remember that veterans’ benefits related to Agent Orange can only be obtained after a veteran has been able to produce adequate evidence. Often, that is the point at which a claim becomes complicated. However, if veterans choose to retain legal representation, the cumbersome task of dealing with the VA’s complex rules and regulations may be somewhat easier to accomplish.
Source: Benefits.VA.gov, “Compensation – Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange,” accessed on Aug. 3, 2015