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VA benefits for service members affected by Agent Orange-Part I

Veterans in Tennessee and across the entire United States may be aware that the United States military used Agent Orange, which is a defoliating agent, during the Vietnam War. The purpose of spraying Agent Orange was to clear vegetation as part of a military strategy. The military also used the chemical to strip areas of terrain in the United States and in other countries for non-military purposes. Unfortunately, the military was unaware at the time that Agent Orange can severely affect the people who come into contact with it.

Eventually, however, the Department of Veterans Affairs understood the ill effects of Agent Orange and announced benefits for those veterans who were affected by the chemical. According to the criteria set by the VA, it is assumed that all veterans who served in the military between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, in Vietnam were affected by Agent Orange. The VA's assumption includes veterans who visited the shore for short durations and even those veterans who entered Vietnam's inland waterways. Veterans who served in the Korean demilitarized zone between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, are also eligible.

In order to obtain veteran benefits for Agent Orange, veterans must show that they fall under either of the two categories. The veterans do not need to produce additional evidence as the VA presumes that any veteran who served in those areas between the dates mentioned was affected by Agent Orange. However, if a veteran wants to claim benefits for Agent Orange but does not fall under either of those two categories, that veteran must provide evidence that links the person's disability to Agent Orange.

The evidence that is required to obtain VA benefits for diseases or disabilities related to Agent Orange will be discussed in the next blog post. Additionally, that post will discuss how stateside veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange without serving in Vietnam or Korea can obtain benefits. Veterans can expect a quicker claim resolution if they have a thorough understanding of those particular veterans' issues.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Compensation - Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange," Accessed on July 16, 2015

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