Agent Orange, a tactical herbicide used during the Vietnam War, has been linked to several different types of cancer. If you served in a location and time period where Agent Orange was used, and you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you might qualify for a presumptive service connection. (Please note that this does include Veterans stationed outside of Vietnam.)
Cancers Qualifying for a Presumptive Service Connection
Normally, when a Veteran applies for disability benefits, they must establish that their condition is connected to their military service. However, in cases involving exposure to certain types of hazardous materials, the VA will automatically grant a service connection. Cancers currently qualifying for a presumptive service connection after Agent Orange exposure include:
- Bladder cancer
- Chronic B-cell leukemia
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Prostate cancer
- Respiratory cancers (including lung cancer)
- Some soft tissue sarcomas (but not osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
The presumptive disability list continues to evolve as more becomes known about the effects of Agent Orange. Bladder cancer was only recently added to the list. Efforts are in progress to add a number of other cancers, such as a dangerous form of eye cancer called choroidal melanoma. If you’ve been diagnosed with a form of cancer that you believe may be connected to Agent Orange exposure, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options. You may be able to establish a service connection by submitting scientific or medical evidence, such as a published research study or articles from respected medical journals.
Additional Evidence Need to Support Your Claim
If you qualify for a presumptive service connection, you will need to submit discharge or separation papers that show your time and location of service—such as your DD214 or other separation documents. You will also need to include medical evidence that confirms your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms.
If you are seeking Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits because you are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment, you will need evidence outlining how your condition affects your ability to work. This often includes an evaluation from a vocational expert.
We’re Here to Help
A cancer diagnosis is devasting, but you’re not alone. Veterans benefits lawyer Sean Kendall and his team are committed to helping Veterans affected by Agent Orange exposure access the benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.