Agent Orange Presumptives
23, 2010 Hearing – Key Points
VA’s primary mission is to be an advocate
for Veterans of all eras.
Veterans who endure health problems as a result of their service deserve access to health care and benefits.
VA has a responsibility to review the latest evidence-based
science to understand if illnesses Veterans are encountering are connected to service.
established by Congress and VA have been invaluable in addressing the challenges of claims involving unique circumstances
and claims involving devastating diseases.
The presumption of service connection relieves claimants of the
need to submit evidence showing that their disabilities were incurred in or caused by their service.
First, it relieves claimants of the burden of
submitting medical evidence directly linking the onset of their condition to service, a burden that would be difficult to
meet where the condition manifests at a time remote from service and the relevant medical principles may not be widely known.
Second, it ensures that similar claims are given
Third, it enables VA to process claims more quickly by relying upon medical principles that need not
be independently established in each case.
Fourth, it helps Veterans, who may not have been otherwise eligible,
obtain prompt medical assistance for their service-connected conditions.
Orange Act was a compromise between the desire for scientific certainty and the need to address the legitimate health concerns
of Veterans exposed to herbicides in service.
Throughout the entire Agent Orange review process VA followed
the guidelines created by Congress.
The presumptive disability decision-making process involves numerous steps and several VA stakeholders.
The key word for environmental exposures, presumptives,
and Agent Orange is prevention:
denial of health care to Veterans.
Provide compensation and pension benefits to Veterans.
Prevent asking the same questions 40 years later
and making the same mistakes.
Prevent the high cost of health care and benefits as a result of neglect to diagnose and treat.