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.