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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Cherokee VA encourages Veterans to file claims

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Exposure to Agent Orange revealing telling effects

Cherokee County Veteran Affairs Director Dana Evens is currently encouraging area veterans and their family to file claims if they were exposed to Agent Orange.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun distributing disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans who qualify for compensation under recently liberalized rules for Agent Orange exposure.

A letter provided by Evans from the Department of Veterans Affairs states, "The joint efforts of Congress and VA demonstrate a commitment to provide Vietnam Veterans with treatment and compensation for the long-term health effects of herbicide exposure," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

Up to 200,000 Vietnam Veterans are potentially eligible to receive VA disability compensation for medical conditions recently associated with Agent Orange. The expansion of coverage involves B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson's disease, and ischemic heart disease.

Shinseki said VA has launched a variety of initiatives -- both technological and involving better business practices -- to tackle an anticipated up-surge in Agent Orange related claims.

"These initiatives show VA's on-going resolve to modernize its processes for handling claims through automation and improvements in doing business, providing Veterans with faster and more accurate decisions on their applications for benefits," Shinseki said.

Providing initial payments -- or increases to existing payments -- to the 200,000 Veterans who now qualify for disability compensation for these three conditions is expected to take several months, but VA officials encourage all Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from one of the three diseases to make sure their applications have been submitted.

VA has offered Veterans exposed to Agent Orange special access to health care since 1978, and priority medical care since 1981. VA has been providing disability compensation to Veterans with medical problems related to Agent Orange since 1985.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a "presumed" illness do not have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This "presumption" simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

The three new illnesses - B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson's disease, and ischemic heart disease -- are added to the list of presumed illnesses previously recognized by VA.

Other recognized illnesses under VA's "presumption" rule for Agent Orange are:

* Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy

* Chloracne

* Chronic Lymphocyic Leukemia

* Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)

* Hodgkin's Disease

* Multiple Myeloma

* Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

* Porphyria Cutanea Tarda

* Prostrate Cancer

* Respiratory Cancers

* Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)

* AL Amyloidosis

Veterans interested in applying for disability compensation under one of the three new Agent Orange presumptives should go to www.fasttrack.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000.

Evans also indicated that compensation availability is also available to family members of deceased Vietnam Veterans.

For more information and who qualifies for compensation contact Dana Evans at the Cherokee County Veterans

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