Agent Orange is an herbicide used for military operations from 1962 to 1975 in Vietnam and other locations. It has been linked to serious medical conditions, including peripheral neuropathy or damage to the peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by conditions such as diabetes or can be due to exposures to toxins such as Agent Orange, which can also be linked to diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the peripheral nervous system and can cause a range of symptoms. Early onset symptoms can affect the toes and fingers and cause numbness, tingling, or a prickling sensation. As the condition progresses, it can affect the arms and legs and cause the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Sensitivity to touch
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives a presumptive service connection for early-onset peripheral neuropathy due to Agent Orange if the condition appears within one year of separating from the service and is at least 10 percent disabling in degree.
Presumptive Service Connection for Early-Onset Peripheral Neuropathy
Several conditions identified by the VA are considered a presumptive service connection. One of those is early-onset peripheral neuropathy. If a Veteran qualifies for a presumptive service connection, they will not need to show proof that their peripheral neuropathy is related to their time in service if it was due to exposure to the herbicide. To be eligible for disability benefits, the condition had to appear within one year of exposure to Agent Orange and be rated at least 10 percent.
The VA assumes a Veteran was exposed to Agent Orange if they had a role in the following capacity:
- In Vietnam, either on land or on ships, between 1962 and 1975
- Those who flew or worked on C-123 aircraft after the ending of the Vietnam War
- Served along the Korean Demilitarized Zone between 1967 and 1971
- Those who, during their time in service, were involved in transporting, testing, or storing Agent Orange
How the VA Rates Peripheral Neuropathy
Ratings for VA disability are awarded from 0 to 100 percent. The higher the rating, the more compensation a Veteran receives. The VA rates peripheral neuropathy under Diagnostic Code 8520: Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve and gives the following ratings for peripheral neuropathy:
- 80 percent. Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be complete, and the Veteran has the following: foot drop and dangling, no active movement of the muscles below the knee, and flexion of the knee is weakened or lost
- 60 percent. Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be incomplete and is severe with marked muscular atrophy
- 40 percent. Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be moderately severe.
- 20 percent. Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be moderate.
- 10 percent. Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be mild.
Contact Our Veterans Benefits Attorney
If you are a Veteran suffering from peripheral neuropathy caused by Agent Orange, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will work to protect your legal rights and help maximize the benefits you deserve. Don’t wait another day; call us today at 877-629-1712.