Present specific details of your disability
Once it has been determined that you served in Vietnam, the VA will send you a Chemical Defoliant development letter, asking about specific details concerning your disability. Answer the questions to the best of your ability, as this information is necessary to gather evidence and process your claim.
After you have responded to the development letter, the VA will obtain any pertinent medical records, and then schedule you for a VA examination to determine the severity of your condition(s). At the examination, the physician will review your claims file and ask you
specific questions about your disability. When he is finished he will write a summary of his findings. The rating specialist in the regional office will transfer these findings to what is called a Rating Decision, and assign a percentage evaluation for each disability granted. You will then be notified in writing as to the decision.
The rating decision, if done properly, will consider service connection for diabetes, for example, on a direct basis, and then again on a presumptive basis. That is, the rating specialist will peruse your service medical records to see if you had a diagnosis of diabetes while on active duty. Most likely, there was none. Then, the rating specialist will consider a grant of diabetes secondary to Agent Orange exposure.
Ratings for diabetes, prostate cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma seemed to be the most prevalent conditions among Vietnam veterans, though this is not meant to downplay the significance of the other eight disabilities. They are all serious conditions for anyone who has them.
Specifics of compensation
A grant of service connection for diabetes associated with herbicide exposure is usually a straightforward grant of benefits based on a medical doctor’s diagnosis of that condition. Usually, a 20% evaluation is given when the veteran is on a restricted diet and taking insulin or using an oral medication such as Metformin or Glucotrol.