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Hill praises VA's Agent Orange decision

Hill praises VA's Agent Orange decision

A new VA regulation adding three health conditions to the list of those presumed to have been caused by exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War was published this week. Pending a 60-day congressional review, the regulation will make some 200,000 veterans eligible for VA benefits over the next year and a half.

"VA is doing the right thing, and this is really going to be a great help to the many Vietnam veterans who've struggled for years to get recognition and treatment for these disorders," American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill said from Milwaukee where the nation's largest veterans organization is conducting its 92nd national convention. "This will really help ease the difficult process for them, and in the long run, will help VA process these claims much more quickly than they have in the past."

The regulation adds Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease to the list of presumptive disorders associated with Agent Orange and will expand chronic lymphocytic leukemia to include all chronic B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia.

By adding these conditions to the presumptive list of disabilities, veterans will no longer have to face as stringent evidentiary requirements and can greatly speed their applications to receive benefits, especially access to VA health-care services.

The decision to add the presumptive diseases was inititated by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in October of 2009 following evidence published in a 2008 independent study by the Institute of Medicine concerning health problems caused by herbicides like Agent Orange. Veterans who served in Vietnam any time from Jan. 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

Many veterans are potentially eligible for retroactive disability payments based on past claims. Additionally, VA will review approximately 90,000 previously denied claims from Vietnam veterans for service-connection status for the conditions. All those awarded service-connection distinction who are not currently eligible for enrollment into the VA health-care system will become eligible.

The regulation is subject to provisions of the Congressional Review Act that require a 60-day review period before implementation. After that period, VA can begin paying benefits for new claims and may award benefits retroactively for earlier periods if a veteran had previously filed under the old law and wasdenied benefits.

The American Legion is encouraging Vietnam veterans with these three diseases to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation now so the agency can begin development of their claims.Veterans who believe they may be entitled to these benefits, or who feel that they need help processing a claim for benefits should contact an American Legion Department Service Officer. A directory for finding a Department Service Officer in your home state can be found here.

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Harry L. Francis

September 23, 2010 - 10:13pm

As I understand, the DNA is supposed to serve both Agent Orange and Atomic Veterans. I se so little on Atomic Veterans, yet we were directed to the VA for a physical in about 1976 or So. I am type 2 diabetic, high blood pressure, stroke, pacemaker.....as a result of Atomic Bomb Radiation ???? When the test bombs went off, we were severly exposed, and with our back to the bomb explosion and our head down on our arms, one could see the bones in one's ares, just like an X-ray. I had to re apply in 2003, in order to get a Nuclear physical, and now again it appears I have to re-apply again.

hotroddan02

September 18, 2010 - 11:34am

My buddy just went to the VA hospital and was told he had leukemia. He has lost a lot of weight, looks bad, his spleen is so swelled that he almost looks pregnant.He should be getting care of some kind and the VA tells him to go home and never gave him any treatment at all. They could have hydrated him at the very least. They did give him an appointment for out patient care to a hemotologist. They had him in hospital and should have admitted him and took care of him, but no,they don't give a #*%> about us to do the right thing. Why would any one spray that crap on there own troops? And why would any one defend those that did?

jwr

September 15, 2010 - 11:35am

I would not be surprised to see Sen. Webb try to alter the bill to exclude non combat vets. I am not sure that he will be able to do that because the science behind the decision is bigger than he is. Saving money does not alter medical decisions on the harmful effects of agent orange on all veterans that were in Vietnam. To pick and choose who gets benefits is counter productive to the findings of the science community, but if it doen't look politicaly risky, he will probably try.

volnamvet66

September 7, 2010 - 9:11am

We need to NEVER assume that they are going to vote the way we want them to vote! If Senator Web gets his way only vets that had an combat arms MOS will be considered as having been exposed to AO. That could then be used to deny/take away AO benefits to any veteran that is receiving them for any of the deseases on the preseumtive list. This thing is huge and nasty..ugly... Write your Representatives and Senators and urge them to reject this. We need to speak as a unified voice - with a Loud and Clear ROAR!!!

victormgil

September 3, 2010 - 10:12am

High blood pressure at age 32, Ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, angina,clogged artery and peripheral vascular disease at age 47. Diabetes at age 52 and sleep apnea at age 55. Senator Webb is right, it is all age related. Unfortunately it seems to happen to Vietnam Vets at a young age. My family has some of these. They got them in their late 60's and early 70's. Us vets might not even make it to those ages.

victormgil

September 3, 2010 - 10:02am

who knows. As you say we all have opinions. My opinion is that being an optomist, Congress will never put thru a joint resolution killing the final regs. no matter what Webb wants.

mike1of3

September 2, 2010 - 8:53pm

Senator Webb has said that the AO diseases are caused by old age. I have three diseases caused by AO and I got them all in my forties. The rest of my family are all healthy.

tadamoana

September 2, 2010 - 7:24pm

Are they going to allow Guam, and other locations? We are suffering the same diseases from the same defoliants.

45tomt

September 2, 2010 - 7:10pm

My understanding is that Sen. Webb ( Vietnam veteran)says these illnesses are NOT the result of Agent Orange. It is a simple result of "Old Age"!!! He said that only people in direct combat can be exposed and no one else. The amount of money to be spent is far to much for old age deseases. Yes, he will try to block this bill!!!

jalexand61

September 2, 2010 - 3:57pm

I understand that Sen Webb has called for a senate hearing into this DVA rule to be conducted on the 23rd of Sept., 2010. I am not sure if he intends to attempt to block this rule or just talk about it? I would advise all Vet's to keep a close eye on this hearing.

victormgil

September 3, 2010 - 10:19am

My understanding is that the senate hearing only lasts for 2 1/2 hours. Senator Webb as a member of the Veterans Affairs Commitee will probably want the commitee to start to block the rule by having it sent to Congress for a joint resolution to block. If this happens, I believe it then goes to the President for his signature. Of course, the President can always Veto. I also understand that joint resolution are very hard to pass. If iether the House or the Senate refuses then Congress would not even bother with the CRA.

webbob

September 1, 2010 - 8:35pm

We all have opinions. What is the general opinion on the possibility that congress will disallow the new Agent Orange initiative?

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