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Agent Orange Exposure Lawyer

Agent Orange was a chemical herbicide that the US military used extensively during the Vietnam War. Its usefulness as a tool of war has since been overshadowed by its serious long-term health effects on veterans who were exposed to it. 

What is agent orange?

Many who served in Vietnam still suffer from the debilitating effects of Agent Orange. 

How many Vietnam veterans have been affected due to Agent Orange exposure is uncertain, but given that more than nine million served on active duty in Vietnam between 1964 and 1975, the chances are that many were exposed.

How to Qualify for Agent Orange Disability Benefits

The Veterans Administration (VA) has two main requirements to qualify to receive disability benefits based on Agent Orange Exposure.

  1. You must be experiencing a health condition that is caused by Agent Orange exposure, and
  2. You must have served in a place where you were exposed to Agent Orange.
Are you qualified for agent orange disability benefits?

A common way of deploying Agent Orange was to spray it from low-flying aircraft, usually a specially-modified C-123 cargo plane. Winds carrying the herbicide up to 500 yards away from the deployment site was not an uncommon occurrence.

The VA has established the locations and dates where qualifying Agent Orange exposure can have occurred. These places and dates include:

  • Vietnam service between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
  • Service aboard a US military vessel that operated in an inland waterway in Vietnam during the period above.
  • Service aboard a vessel that operated no more than 12 nautical miles away from the demarcation line between Vietnam and Cambodia during the period above. This is effectively the only way that “blue water” US Navy veterans—those whose ships operated off the coast of Vietnam—can claim Agent Orange exposure.
  • Service in Laos between December 1, 1965 and September 30, 1969.
  • Service in Cambodia at Mimot, Krek, or Kampong Cham Province between April 16 and April 30, 1969.
  • Service along the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971.
  • Service at any US or Royal Thai Air Force base between January 9, 1962 and June 30, 1976.
  • Service on Guam or American Samoa, including the territorial waters surrounding these islands, between January 9, 1962 and July 31, 1980.
  • Service on Johnston Atoll, or on a ship that called there, between January 1, 1972 and September 30, 1977.
  • Service in a unit or at a location where you were exposed to Agent Orange by working with it, such as by loading, transporting, or storing it.
    • For example, if you served at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base between 1969 and 1986, or in a unit that used US Air Force C-123 aircraft during the same period, in either active duty or reserve service, then presumptive exposure applies.
    • If you served at Westover Air Force Base or Pittsburgh International Airport between 1972 and 1982, you might have been exposed.

What is Presumptive Exposure?

If you served in these locations during the relevant times, then the VA will presume that you were exposed to Agent Orange. This is also known as “presumptive exposure.” 

The significance of presumptive exposure is that it replaces, and is an easier standard of proof to meet than, the usual requirement to show that your condition is service-connected. 

Effectively, if you can show that you were exposed to Agent Orange under one of the criteria above, then the VA will presume the existence of a service connection. 

Not all Agent Orange-related disability claims result in presumptive exposure. 

In these cases, you can still apply for VA disability benefits but you will need to establish a service connection to the condition or other medical or scientific evidence showing that Agent Orange caused your disability condition.

What are the Effects of Agent Orange Exposure?

Agent Orange is a known carcinogen. It can also cause other illnesses and conditions. We list some of the negative health effects of Agent Orange below.

What are the effects of agent orange exposure?


Cancers that Agent Orange exposure can lead to include:

  • Chronic B-cell leukemia
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers
  • Bladder cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcomas

Other Illnesses

The chemicals in Agent Orange can damage your skin, your nervous system, your circulatory system, and certain glands and bone marrow elements. The following list shows presumptive conditions for agent orange that the VA recognizes:

  • AL amyloidosis, a bone marrow disorder.
  • Chloracne, a rare skin condition (or other types of acneiform disease like it)
    Note: this condition must be at least 10% disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2 (Type 2 diabetes)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)
  • Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease 
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a precancerous condition affecting plasma cells in bone marrow
  • Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative brain disorder that leads to movement problems including stiffness, rigidity, and tremors.
  • Parkinsonism, which describes brain conditions other than Parkinson’s disease that have symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early onset – this describes a nerve damage condition that can cause weakness, numbness, and a tingling sensation.
    Note: this condition must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of herbicide exposure.
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda, a condition that can cause lesions on skin exposed to sunlight.
    Note: This condition must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of herbicide exposure.

Birth Defects

Spina Bifida

Agent Orange exposure has been linked to spina bifida, a condition affecting a baby’s spinal cord that develops while the child is still in the womb. If you meet the following criteria, then your child might be eligible for spina bifida-related VA disability benefits:

  1. You, or the child’s other biological mother or father, must have served in Vietnam or in Thailand between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, or in a unit stationed at or near the Korean DMZ between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971.
  2. In addition to the criteria in #1 above, your child must have been diagnosed with spina bifida (other than spina bifida occulta), and have been conceived after you or the other biological parent first entered Vietnam, Thailand, or the DMZ area during the relevant time periods.

Other Birth Defects

Agent Orange can contribute to other kinds of birth defects that are compensable through dependent disability benefits. 

If the child’s mother served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, and the child was conceived after the mother first entered Vietnam during this period, then if the child suffers from a permanent physical or mental disability caused by the birth defect, disability benefits can be available.

Some of the kinds of birth defects that the VA will consider under this qualification include:

  • Achondroplasia
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Congenital talipes equinovarus (clubfoot)
  • Esophageal and intestinal atresia
  • Hallerman-Streiff syndrome
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hirschprung’s disease (congenital megacolon)
  • Hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis
  • Hypospadias
  • Imperforate anus
  • Neural tube defects
  • Poland syndrome
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Syndactyly (fused digits)
  • Tracheoesophageal fistula
  • Undescended testicle
  • Williams syndrome

Filing a Disability Claim for Agent Orange Exposure

Filing a disability claim for Agent Orange benefits means recognizing the symptoms of Agent Orange exposure and taking the steps to file the disability claim with the DA.

Agent Orange Registry Health Exams

The VA provides health examinations for veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange. The purpose of these exams is to help you understand the potential health problems of that exposure, to update your medical records as necessary, and to give you an opportunity to consult with a VA medical professional.

Agent Orange Registry Health Exams are not the same as the medical examination the VA might ask you to undergo to support your disability benefit claim. Their main purpose is informative, both for you and for the VA in the data it gathers from the examination results.

How to File a Disability Claim for Agent Orange Exposure

Depending on your specific situation, you can have one of three paths to take in making a claim for VA disability benefits because of Agent Orange exposure: make an original claim, file a supplemental claim, or make an appeal to a claim denial.

Is there an Average Agent Orange Disability Compensation?

How much you may be entitled to in monthly disability compensation for Agent Orange exposure depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is your disability rating, which can be from 0 to 100 percent. 

There is no “average” disability rating for Agent Orange exposure, or average monthly disability compensation amount you might receive from that exposure. Every veteran who was exposed will have unique considerations that must be carefully explored. If you do suffer from an Agent Orange-related disability, the maximum monthly disability benefit amount you can receive from a total disability is $3,757 if you have no spouse or dependent children, and up to $4,295 if you have a spouse and both dependent parents living with you. 

The maximum amount of Agent Orange monthly disability benefits you can receive increases with each additional dependent child after the first one. It can also be affected by additional special claims, like for birth defects.

You can use our VA disability calculator to get an estimate of what you could receive, then talk to one of our VA disability claims lawyers at Stone Rose Law who can help you determine what your unique monthly compensation amount can be.

Original Agent Orange Claims

You can file a claim for benefits for exposure to Agent Orange in the same way as you file any other disability benefit claim. 

Supplemental Agent Orange Claims

If the VA denied your original claim because you did not have a presumed exposure, but later included your condition as a presumed exposure one, you can file a supplemental claim. For example, if you made a claim for hypertension (high blood pressure) based on Agent Orange exposure in the past and it was denied, the VA has recently added that condition to the Agent Orange presumptive list. As recently as two years ago, the VA also added bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the presumed exposure list.

Claim Denial Appeals

The VA might deny your original or even your supplemental claim for many reasons, not all of which may have to do with Agent Orange exposure. You can appeal a disability claim denial if you believe the denial was mistaken.

Your VA Disability Claim Advocates

At Stone Rose Law, we support veterans like you with Agent Orange-related disability claims no matter what stage you are at: making your first claim, making a supplemental claim, or appealing a claim denial. 

We will help you to prepare an initial or supplemental claim at no cost to you. If you need help appealing a VA disability claim denial, we can help you on a contingency basis – there is no fee unless you win your appeal. If we win on your behalf, we only collect a one-time fee from your agent orange compensation back pay. You keep all your monthly disability and other VA benefits.

Our expert VA Disability Lawyers know how to handle these cases. We have successfully represented clients just like you, recovering tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid VA disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.

If your military service in Vietnam might have led to Agent Orange exposure, contact one of our VA disability attorneys at Stone Rose Law Firm for a free consultation. Call us today at (480) 498-8998.