Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced yesterday that more than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits already has been paid to about 89,000 Vietnam veterans and their survivors who filed claims related to one of three new Agent Orange presumptive conditions.
On Aug. 31, 2010, the Veterans Affairs Department amended its regulations to add ischemic heart disease, hairy cell leukemia and other chronic B-cell leukemias and Parkinson's disease to the list of diseases presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.
“As the president said to the American Legion yesterday, VA is committed to ensuring veterans and their families receive the care and benefits they have earned,” Shinseki said yesterday. “I encourage all potentially eligible veterans to apply as soon as possible to preserve the most favorable effective date for payments.”
- Potentially eligible veterans include those who were exposed based on duty or visitation in Vietnam or on its inland waterways between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975; exposed along the demilitarized zone in Korea between April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971; or exposed due to herbicide tests and storage at military bases within and outside of the United States.
- The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website located at https://www.fasttrack.va.gov/AOFastTrack/ may be used to submit claims related to the three new presumptive conditions. The website makes it easy to electronically file a claim and allows veterans and their physicians to upload evidence supporting the claim. It also permits online viewing of claim status.
- Beyond the three new presumptive disabilities, veterans may file online at VA’s My-eBenefits website at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal. People can check the status of their claim with a premium account, confirming their identity, and use a growing number of online services.
- Service members may enroll in My-eBenefits by using their common access card at any time during their military service, or before they leave during their Transition Assistance Program briefings. Veterans may also enroll through their myPay or MyHealtheVet accounts by visiting their local VA regional office or veteran service organization, or by calling 1-800-827-1000.
- For more information about Agent Orange presumptives and disability compensation, go to http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/.
- For questions about Agent Orange, veterans may call VA’s Special Issues Helpline at 1-800-749-8387 and press 3.