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Agent Orange Ship List Updated Again

Veterans who served in Vietnam have something referred to as Presumptive Conditions. There is a list of conditions Veterans can service connect for as long as they served in Vietnam and were Boots on Ground. Essentially, a Veteran who is boots on ground is one who stepped foot in country. Meaning you had a stay in the country for at least a few hours. Veterans who served on ships during the Vietnam conflict aren’t subject to the same rules. These Veterans must have served on a ship that is on the official ship list released by the VA. The ship list does change from time to time, and it was just updated again last month. In total, 19 new ships were added and changes were made to nine existing ships.

Here the new ships and the changes:

NEW SHIPS

USS Arnold J. Isbell (DD-869) sent small boat ashore while anchored in Da Nang Harbor on April 12, 1970.

USNS Barrett (T-AP-196) carried US Army 2nd Transportation Company to Qui Nhon during August 1965 and transported additional troops to Vietnam from April to December 1968 and January to May 1969.

USS Bennington (CVS-20) [Anti-Submarine Aircraft Carrier] entered Qui Nhon Bay Harbor to pick up Bob Hope for onboard Christmas show on December 26, 1966.

USS Berkeley (DDG-15) sent small boats ashore at Da Nang and elsewhere for gunfire support missions during May-June 1970.

USS Brinkley Brass (DD-887) conducted fire support mission in Rung Sat Special Zone during February 9-11, 1970; sent crew ashore for work details and liberty leave while anchored at Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, and Vung Tau during April-May, 1970.

USS Carpenter (DD-825) sent medical team ashore at Song Tra Village on December 20, 1968.

USS Fox (DLG-33) sent small boat ashore from Da Nang Harbor with Captain for mission briefings on October 24, 1967.

USS Kennebec (AO-36) provided fuel to vessels while in Ganh Rai Bay during August 1969.

USS Mobile (LKA-115) docked to pier at Da Nang on April 16, 1971; transported troops and cargo to/from Da Nang and elsewhere July-September 1970, during April 1971, October-November 1971, and January-July 1972.

USS Persistence (MSO-491) docked to piers at Da Nang and Cam Ranh Bay during October 1970.

USS Pyro (AE-24) [Auxiliary Explosive, Ammunition Ship] sent small boat ashore from Da Nang Harbor with injured crew member for medical tx on September 29, 1972.

USS Quapaw (ATF-110) provided tow on Saigon River with deliveries to inland river base at Nha Be during June 1966.

USS Stoddard (DD-566) operated on Saigon River during September 1965.

USS Taylor (DD-468) operated on Ganh Rai Bay during August 1967 and November-December 1968.

USS Truxtun (DLGN-35) sent small boats ashore from Da Nang Harbor on June 2, 1968 and October 25, 1969.

USS Vescole (DD-878) operated on Saigon River during December 1965-February 1966.

USS Walker (DD-517) operated on Saigon River during December 1968.

USS Welch (PG-93)

USS Wilhoite (DER-397) sent crew members onto enemy vessel in De Sey Ky River during July 16, 1965 and sent landing party ashore from Vung Tau Harbor on September 28, 1968.

UPDATES TO EXISTING SHIPS

USS Catamount (LSD-17): ADD: travelled up Saigon River to Saigon during November 1962.

USS Firm (MSO-444) ADD: docked to piers at Cam Ranh Bay February-April, 1971.

USNS Geiger (T-AP-197): ADD: transported troops to Qui Nhon and Vung Tau from September to December 1965 and additional troops to Vietnam January to February 1967 and July 1969.

USS James E. Kyes (DD-787): ADD: provided naval gunfire support on Song Ca River during October 1967.

USS John W. Thomason (DD-760): ADD: operated on Mekong River Delta for Operation Deck House III during August 1966.

USS Procyon (AF-61) docked to Pier #1 at Da Nang Harbor on August 18-19, 1967.

USS Renville (APA-227): ADD: May-August 1965, and March-October 1966.

USS Rupertus (DD-851) ADD: sent motorized whaleboats ashore while in Da Nang Harbor on January 4, 1973.

USS Shelton (DD-790): ADD: conducted small boat inland waterborne logistics craft (WBLC) surveillance of Cua Viet River on August 16, 1972.

Please keep in mind, the ships listed above are just the ones that were added or were changed. To see the complete list of ships, check here. We know that a lot of Vietnam Veterans aren’t aware of the changes, so please help us spread the word.

If you’re a Veteran who served in Vietnam and would like more information about our services, call us toll free, 1-877-526-3457. Or, if you’re not available now, fill out this form, and a specialist will call you at a better time.

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House Bill Seeks to Expand Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits to Blue Water Vietnam Veterans

 

There is a lot of talk right now about a bill that passed the House involving Blue Water Veterans who served during Vietnam. Essentially, this bill will expand Agent Camp Lejeune WaterOrange Presumptive Benefits to Veterans who served on Ships near the coast of Vietnam. This is great news for these Veterans, but do you even know if you are a Blue Water Veteran?

In the complex world of VA Disability, there are essentially two types of Veterans who served on ships during Vietnam; Brown Water and Blue Water. Brown Water Veterans are currently able to receive disability benefits under the Agent Orange Presumptive List. Blue Water Veterans aren’t able to receive these presumptive benefits. Many people aren’t aware of the difference between Brown Water Veterans and Blue Water Veterans.

It may seem complicated, but really the difference really just comes down to where a Veteran served. If a Veteran served off the coast of Vietnam in the open sea, he or she is considered a Blue Water Veteran. If a Veteran served on a ship or boat that was in the inland waterways of Vietnam, they are considered a Brown Water Veteran. Agent Orange presumptive conditions currently apply to Brown Water Veterans only. The VA website states that a Blue Water Veteran must have stepped foot on ground in Vietnam in order to receive a disability benefit for Agent Orange.

Let’s stop for just a second to discuss how ridiculous this sounds. In the eyes of the VA, a Veteran onboard a ship off the coast of Vietnam could not be exposed to Agent Orange because they were not in country. This means that somehow Agent Orange knew where the border of the country was and it couldn’t float off into the sea. I for one will not buy that because I have something called common sense. If I go out this evening and spray Round Up in my flower bed, it will be released into the air and float off into my driveway and other surrounding areas. It won’t just stop at the end of the flower bed. It’s an herbicide, so it will float a little bit. Round Up is like a much weaker version of Agent Orange. Instead of being released from a handheld spray bottle, Agent Orange was dropped from large planes. To think that Veterans onboard ships off the coast weren’t impacted by this is somewhat asinine.

Granted, some people might argue that they knew a Veteran who was Blue Water only and is getting connected for Agent Orange conditions. Yes, this is possible if the Veteran stepped foot in country. This is where things get interesting. All ships have logs that document the daily activities of the crew. Anytime personnel leave a ship for any reason, it’s documented. Many Veterans on these Blue Water ships did travel to Vietnam for short trips during the war. This could be for trips to get supplies, official mission meetings, or the one that stands out to me, picnics. While it may seem odd, there are several instances in different ship logs of large numbers of Sailors heading into the mainland for picnics. Like I said, they document everything on these ships. This is good though, because we’ve been able to get some Veterans who were Blue Water only connected off of these logs.

The good news is that the House has already approved a bill allowing Blue Water Veterans to receive Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits. It still must pass the senate before it becomes a law, but things are definitely headed in the right direction. Here is the staggering number though. According to the Military Times, as many as 90,000 sailors may now be able to receive Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits. That is the best news of all.

If you would like to know more about Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits, or if you’d like to know about VA Disability in general, call us today for a Free Consultation. Our Toll Free Number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be contacted at your convenience, fill out this form to schedule a time.

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New Air Force Veterans May Be Eligible for Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits

Air Force PatchLate last month new reports surfaced regarding Air Force Veterans and Agent Orange exposure. While the news received a lot of attention, and some new Vets will be eligible for presumptive benefits, it’s important to focus on the actual Veterans effected by this change. Too often people get lost on the positive spin put on stories when an organization like the VA is desperate for some positive attention.

So, what happened? Essentially a report found that Air Force and Air Force Reserve Veterans who served stateside are now eligible to file VA Disability claims as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. As many Veterans know, in order to qualify for Agent Orange presumptive benefits, one must traditionally be considered “boots on ground” in Vietnam. Granted, there are a lot of exceptions to this rule, but the majority of Veterans who file these claims are those who served in Vietnam. On occasion, the VA releases other areas in which Agent Orange was used throughout the years. This includes bases in the US and Puerto Rico as well as countries like Korea and Thailand. This recent announcement follows in that same tradition, but pertains more to the aircraft that were used while in Vietnam. In this case the VA is being very specific about the aircraft. The only plane that is a part of this is the C-123.

The report also states that only about 1500-2100 new Air Force Veterans will likely be found eligible as a result of this study. Further, the VA stated in their news release that:“Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.” In other words, not every Veteran who served in the Air Force at the bases listed below is eligible. For Veterans who serve in Vietnam, as long as you were boots on ground, and have a presumptive disability, you are eligible. In the case of these new Air Force requirements, you have to meet the specific criteria.

“Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.”

You’re likely still wandering who this really effects. The VA actually supplied a very detailed list that should alleviate any question as to who was exposed. On a personal note, I found that an uncle of mine could possibly be one of the Airmen eligible. He was actually stationed at one of the bases listed during the time period. For everyone else, here are the dates and areas affected that will determine eligibility.

Dates: Air Force and Air Force Reserve Veterans must have served from 1969-1985

Reservist must have served here:

  • Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron),
  • Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts (731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport ( 758th Airlift Squadron)

The VA states that if you were in the Active Air Force during this time, you may qualify for benefits if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You served in a regular Air Force unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned.
  • You had regular and repeated contact with C-123 aircraft through flight, ground, or medical duties.
  • You have an Agent Orange-related disability.

To see a full list of Active Air Force Units that may qualify, click here.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind here is that the same rules apply for these new Veterans regarding Agent Orange claims as previous Vets who were eligible. In other words, you must have a disability that is on the presumptive list in order to qualify for compensation. The VA does not compensate based on exposure. You must instead be diagnosed with one of the conditions on the official VA list.

If you are an Air Force Veteran who meets the criteria listed above, give us a call today regarding your VA disability claim. We can help you determine your eligibility and help get you the benefits you deserve. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. You can also contact us by filling out this form and we will reach you at a later time.

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Up in the Air: Are Veterans who flew above Vietnam Qualified for Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions?

Alyssa is a case manager for our Veterans in the office. I hear her speak to clients about different aspects of the VA Disability process every day. As a result of our close proximity in the office, her conversations often spark ideas for blogs. She claims that she is my blogging muse, and that is not too far from the truth. Recently Alyssa came to me with a question that I could not answer. I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer to something…I blog about it.

The question Alyssa asked was something I had not thought of before. She asked if a Veteran who served during Vietnam in the Air Force would be eligible for Agent Orange presumptive conditions. She stated that the Veteran in question never landed in country, but rather flew through the airspace.

Honestly, my first thought was that he would be eligible because I was under the impression that the airspace above the country is also considered a part of the areas affected by Agent Orange. I didn’t just come to this conclusion by guessing, but rather applying what I knew about Gulf War Illness to Agent Orange. The airspace above each country listed for GWI is considered part of the area affected. I simply applied what I knew about GWI to Agent Orange…and I was wrong.

This was the first time I had ever been wrong about anything in my life, so I was a little perplexed. Kris, our C-file reviewer explained that a Veteran must be "boots on ground" in order to be eligible for Agent Orange. Truthfully, this is one of the first things we learn at this firm when we are hired on for VA disability compensation. However, I forgot one of the most basic rules. Kris is right. The airspace above Vietnam is not considered an area that is eligible for Agent Orange presumptive conditions. Certain water ways are affected as well, but that will be discussed in a different blog down the road.

On a personal note, it is a little strange to me that airspace is eligible for GWI, but not Agent Orange. Granted, I don’t make the rules, and I am not in charge of the VA, so my opinion on this subject is not really going to make them change the ways things are done.

Unfortunately, the Veteran in question was not able to get service connection for his VA Disability Compensation. I always say all VA cases are different. With this in mind, give me a call to see if you qualify for VA Disability compensation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather I call you, fill out this form

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Recent Poll Profiles Soldiers Returning Home From Conflict

I’ll be honest; I really don’t like the Family Feud. This may be an unpopular opinion, but it is mine, and I have the right to have it. My displeasure with the show is not with the host, the families on it, or the format; it’s with the survey they use for the answers. They only Survey 100 people for these questions! Are you really trying to tell me that 100 people can really represent the entire country when it comes to something as important as naming something you bring on a picnic? This is really the problem with surveys and polls as a whole, at least in my opinion. As a country, we are far too diverse to believe that 100 people can really speak for everyone. (By the way, check out the video below of a Marine and a civilian giving the greatest response ever to a Family Feud question. It's worth a view.)

Ok, as in most of my blogs, we have to ask “how does this pertain to VA disability?” Well, a recent poll by the Washington Post examined Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and let’s just say they didn't take the “Family Feud” approach. The complete story can be found here, but be warned, it’s much longer and doesn't reference the Family Feud once.

There is a ton of great information here, and the information found is valuable and up to date. Over 800 Veterans participated who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both. Veterans from every branch of the military, with the exception of the Coast Guard, participated, and both men and women were asked questions. There were over 50 questions that ranged from “how long did you plan to serve” to “Do you feel as if President Obama is a good commander in chief for the military.” While I will stray away from politics, it is interesting to note that 47% of the Veterans surveyed consider themselves independent.

The Washington Post article that accompanied this survey has some interesting statistics:

Of the 819 Veterans surveyed,

•18 percent were seriously injured while performing their duties.

•34 percent say they have a service-connected disability.

•52 percent say their physical or mental health is worse than it was before the wars.

•41 percent report experiencing outbursts of anger, at least sometimes.

•51 percent know a service member who has attempted or committed suicide.

See the entire poll with results by clicking here,

What do these numbers really mean though? Well, one thing we can gather from this is that claims for PTSD will likely be on the rise. With over half of the individuals surveyed admitting that their mental health is worse than it was before they were deployed. Also, the 18% who stated that they were seriously injured while serving means there will likely be an influx of physical claims.

Overall, this survey was really informative. I spent a lot of time reading the numbers as well as the report that the Washington Post released with the data. If you are interested in filing for VA disability, or would like a free consultation, give me a call. Our toll free number is 1-877-526 3457. If you’d rather be contacted by us, fill out this form and we will call you. 

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Simple Information Every Vietnam Vet Should Know About Neuropathy.

I will admit something to anyone who reads this blog right now: I don’t have all of the answers, and I don’t know everything. If you happen to know me personally, I suggest taking a moment to gather your newly found bricks. Kidding aside, I learn something new every day here. I don’t like to make things up, so I really do lean something new. Granted, some days that may be something as simple as Feta Cheese does not go on everything, or something really important, like finding out what neuropathy really means.  

"Wait, you write a VA blog and you don’t know what Neuropathy is?"  I imagine this would come up if I was ever on the non-hit CNN Debate show “Crossfire,” but I don’t really have to worry about that. Mainstream media has all but forgotten that there is such a thing as the VA, or a backlog. But no fictional debater, I was not completely oblivious to what neuropathy was, I just have a better understanding of it now.

How did this come about? Well, at our firm, Jan Dils believes in continuous improvement. We do this in many ways, but one of the most popular avenues is a series of classes taught by attorneys and outside experts. Recently, Ross P. Miltner, one of our social security attorneys, taught a class on the subject of Medications. Before I get too far along into the details, you should know that Ross is a very intelligent attorney, and looks like a Jimmy Fallon/Sheldon Cooper hybrid, and he is our reigning fantasy football champion…in other words, when he talks, you listen.

Ross was speaking about Beta Blockers and Diuretics when I started thinking about how I beat him in the second round of our fantasy football league. I’m strangely competitive with him. Then he said something that snapped me back to focus. “Neuropathy is a form of nerve damage.” Why did this not resonate with me before?

I mentioned earlier that I had some knowledge of this before. However, my knowledge of neuropathy is that it is a presumptive condition of Agent Orange Exposure, and that it is associated with diabetes. I never really took the time to dive into what it is really is. To look deeper into this subject, I turned to one of the most reliable sources I know, Wikipedia. Just kidding of course, I turned to the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic states the following: Peripheral neuropathy, a result of nerve damage, often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet, but it may also occur in other areas of your body. People generally describe the pain of peripheral neuropathy as tingling or burning, while they may compare the loss of sensation to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.

Nerves that may be affected by peripheral neuropathy include:

•Sensory nerves that receive sensations such as heat, pain or touch

•Motor nerves that control how your muscles move

•Autonomic nerves that control functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder function

Further, if you served in Vietnam, or were exposed to Agent Orange in another location, you may apply for presumptive conditions. Diabetes and Neuropathy are both on the presumptive list. But, I as I can attest, it’s not always easy to know what neuropathy is. Here are few symptoms the Mayo Clinic has provided.

 •Gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which may spread upward into your legs and arms

•Burning pain

•Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain

•Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch

•Skin, hair or nail changes

•Lack of coordination

•Muscle weakness or paralysis if motor nerves are affected

•Heat intolerance if autonomic nerves are affected

•Bowel, bladder or digestive problems if autonomic nerves are affected

•Changes in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness, if autonomic nerves are affected

As you will read in almost every blog I write, the best thing to do if you have these symptoms is go to a health care provider to get an official diagnosis. That’s the kind of thing they want to see in your records. If you do have a diagnosis, and are interested in filing a claim, give me a call today for a free consultation. 1-877-526-3457. I don’t mind giving you a call, so fill out this form and I’ll be happy to discuss your case.

For even more information, request a free copy of our book

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How to guarantee your VA claim is approved…seek treatment

Ok, in reality there is no way to 100% guarantee your claim gets approved. You could have video evidence of your injury as well as hand written buddy statements from 30 Marines, The Secretary of Defense, and God, and the VA would still find a way to deny your claim. However, your VA claim is a lot more likely to get approved if you seek treatment. Let’s look into to this topic a little deeper.

Heather, our lead VA attorney, was discussing chronic issues recently, and we asked her to go into a little more detail. Heather explained that in order to get service connected for most physical conditions, you need to show that the disability has been an issue since your time in service. One of the ways to prove your disability is valid is seeking treatment.

For our OEF/OIF Vets it’s not too much of an issue. Most of these men and women are only a few years removed from service and are going to the VA for treatment or they seek treatment from private doctors. However, the problem usually occurs in our older Veterans. Our clients who served in Vietnam and the Veterans who served during peace time are often missing treatment records for conditions. This is often called a gap in treatment.

Some may wonder why this is an issue. We are now over 30 years removed from the end of the Vietnam War. Most of the individuals who served then are in their 50’s and 60’s. If you want to file a back condition now without medical records from the past three decades, then you have a better chance of having a happy marriage with a Kardashian then getting your VA claim approved. The VA will not look at this as a chronic condition. They will likely argue that your back issue is a result of your age.

We also see a problem with older Veterans when it comes to their time in service versus their work history. Once again, let’s say that you haven’t sought treatment over the years. If you served two years in the Air Force then left and worked in the coal mines for 30 years, you can’t really argue that your shoulder condition is a result of your time in service if you didn’t seek treatment. Also, if you waited until you were in your late 50’s to file this claim, you are far less likely to get approved then if you did it as a part of discharge or shortly after service.

You may have noticed that I mentioned physical conditions earlier. You may wonder about mental disabilities. Do they fit into the same regulations? First of all, medical treatment is a must! Too often I hear from prospective clients that they think they have PTSD. If you haven’t received a diagnosis from a doctor, that claim will get denied. The same rule applies to seeking treatment for mental disabilities. The difference is that a condition like PTSD can be diagnosed later in life and still get approved. Symptoms from these conditions often don’t appear until after an individual has been away from the traumatic situation for a while.

Since we spent a lot of this blog discussing Vietnam Vets, I want to talk about how this applies to Agent Orange presumptive conditions.  Agent Orange Presumptive conditions don’t appear until later in life. Conditions like diabetes and Heart disease will manifest several years after exposure to Agent Orange.

Overall, most conditions need some form of treatment to get approved. As with most things in life there are exceptions to the rule. However, the best way to get a majority of your claims approved is to see a doctor or seek other forms of treatment. If you would like to request a free consultation, fill out this form. Request a free copy of our book by clicking here.

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Agent Orange Ship List Updated

For Veterans who served during the Vietnam era, Agent Orange exposure is a harsh reality most have to deal with every day. Traditionally, Veterans had to have served in, or be “Boots on Ground,” in Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea in order to Service Connect for disabilities that are presumptive conditions of Agent Orange exposure. There are, as with most things in life, exceptions to the rule. Certain areas in the US, Puerto Rico, and a few other areas also qualify. Further, certain Navy and Coast Guard Ships also qualify for exposure to Agent Orange.

The VA will update these lists from time to time in order to more accurately serve the Veterans who were in Vietnam, and that brings us to the topic of today’s blog. The VA has updated the list of Navy and Coast Guard Ships that had activities in Vietnam. The latest additions bring the total to 285 ships. The addition of over 40 new ships means that a lot of Veterans may qualify for exposure to Agent Orange who weren’t eligible previously. This is huge news for any Veteran who was denied in the past.

A few quick notes. Serving on these ships does not necessarily qualify you for benefits. Each ship has unique orders and thus you must be present on the ship when it was near Vietnam. Some ships were only present for one day. If you weren’t on the vessel at that time, then you are not likely entitled to benefits for Agent Orange Exposure.

One question we are asked a lot by Veterans is: Do I have to serve in combat to get these benefits? The answer is a simple no. For instance, one of ships I came across while doing my research was the USS Eldorado (Eldorado (AGC-11) (Amphibious Force Flagship) The only activities it had in Vietnam was that in July 1970 crewmembers were sent  ashore for a  beach party at Cam Ranh Bay. Obviously that is not a combat situation, but those Veterans would likely be entitled to benefits if they have disabilities that are a result of Agent Orange Exposure. Many other ships never actually docked, but instead patrolled the inland water ways of Vietnam. Those Veterans would also qualify.

To see if your ship is on the list, and to see the activity of your ship, please consult the complete list available via the VA website. If you believe that you qualify for benefits, and would like help with your VA Disability claim, feel free to give us a call today. Our consultation is completely free. Fill out this form, and we will be happy to give you a call.

 

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The Health Concerns Asbestos Exposure has Caused for Veterans

Until the 1970s, the U.S. military used a number of asbestos products in each of their branches. Boilers, cooling systems and friction parts all commonly contained asbestos – as did many of the materials used to construct military bases.

Around the time that government organizations linked mesothelioma to asbestos, the military began phasing out asbestos products. They recognized that the high rates of occupational asbestos exposure placed service men and women at high risk for a number of health concerns. By the time they realized this, however, they had already exposed millions of veterans to the carcinogenic fibers.

Although the exposure risk in the modern military is lower than it was during World War II or the Vietnam War, current veterans may encounter old asbestos-containing products. If they repeatedly handle them in a way that releases asbestos into the air, they place themselves at risk for several different diseases, including:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung Cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Pleuritis
  • Pleural plaques

Often, these slow-developing diseases arise 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure occurs. This means that veterans who served while the military was still using asbestos could develop an asbestos-related condition as late as the 2020s.

Resources for Asbestos-Exposed Veterans

Because of this prolonged health risk, veterans should be especially cautious about any abnormal changes in their health. Coughing, chest pain or difficulty breathing may indicate the presence of an asbestos-related disease. If they occur, veterans should immediately discuss these concerns with an oncologist.

However, these symptoms rarely show up in earlier stages. Because it is entirely possible for mesothelioma to remain asymptomatic until stage III or IV, veterans should register for asbestos-related diseases screenings even if they do not currently display any symptoms. If a disease does develop, these screenings can detect it before it progresses to a later, less treatable stage.

Veterans who have asbestos-related diseases can obtain care from the VA Health Care System. They may also file for other VA benefits, such as disability compensation or VA pension, to help cover the costs of care for service-connected diseases.

If you would like to learn more about legal representation, call our firm today for a free consultation: 1-877-526-3457.

Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.

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What are the “Nehmer Laws” in the VA?

Heather

Over the past several months, there has been a lot of talk about Nehmer Laws, but a lot of Veterans are not aware of what they are, or how it pertains to the VA disability process.

The term Nehmer refers to a court case which started in 1986 as a class action lawsuit against the Department of Veteran affairs. This case was started by Vietnam Veterans and theirs survivors due to Agent Orange (AO) exposure while serving in Vietnam. On October 13, 2009 secretary Schineski’s decision established presumptive service connection (SC) for 3 additional illnesses: B cell leukemia (such as hairy cell leukemia), Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic heart disease. This case is still ongoing.

The following illnesses are considered to be related to Agent Orange exposure while serving in Vietnam and fall under the Nehmer case:

 

                       Condition                                                            Became effective

·         Type II Diabetes                                                                   5-08-2001

·         Ischemic Heart Disease                                                        8-31-2010

·         Parkinson’s disease                                                              8-31-2010

·         B-cell Leukemia                                                                     8-31-2010

 

****There are other presumptive illnesses due to AO

Exposure that do not fall under the Nehmer Guidelines at this time****

 

After applying for an illness listed under the Nehmer case, it could be some time before your claim is decided due to the volume of cases. In an attempt to speed the process for Nehmer cases, the Huntington VARO reviewed only Nehmer cases from other states for approximately four months. In addition to the backlog of Nehmer cases, this caused a backlog in other cases.  

The VA Disability Process can be quite long and difficult. If you have a claim pending, don't heistate to give our office a call. Or, if you are a Veteran who has questions about applying for disabilities related to Agent Orange exposure, we will be more than happy to assist you with your claim. You can reach our office at 1-877-526-3457

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