VA Begins Paying Benefits for New Agent Orange
VA Encourages Affected Vietnam Veterans to File Claims
WASHINGTON – 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.
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 upsurge in Agent Orange-related claims.
“These initiatives show VA’s ongoing 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.