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VA benefits for veterans affected by Agent Orange -- Part II

Many veterans in Tennessee know that Agent Orange was used to defoliate vast areas of jungle during the Vietnam War as well as along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Over the years, research showed that exposure to Agent Orange could lead to serious health complications for those service members exposed to it -- whether or not they served in active combat zones. As a result, the Department of Veterans' Affairs began offering benefits to veterans affected by the chemical. Benefit details and eligibility criteria were discussed in a previous blog post.

Among those exposed to Agent Orange were military personnel who flew in C-123 aircraft, the units that were used to disperse the chemical, long after the Vietnam War had ended. After prolonged efforts by some veterans, the VA agreed to include them in the administration's list of those who could receive benefits for health complications.

To be eligible for benefits related to Agent Orange when a veteran's service was not in Vietnam or Korea, the person must meet at least one of the following criteria -- service on or near certain military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War, service in military facilities where Agent Orange was tested or stored, service as a crew member on a C-123 aircraft used after the Vietnam War or service in Department of Defense projects that tested, stored or disposed of the chemical.

As with many other veterans' issues, it is important to remember that veterans' benefits related to Agent Orange can only be obtained after a veteran has produced adequate evidence that the person meets one or more criteria. This is often where a claim becomes complicated. Fortunately, legal representation can make dealing with the VA's complex rules and regulations considerably easier.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Compensation - Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange," Accessed on July 17, 2015

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