Hypertension, previously in the “limited or suggestive” category regarding service connection for disabilities related to Agent Orange, has been moved to the “sufficient” category by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. This is big news for veterans who have been appealing to the Department of Veterans Affairs to grant them service connection for hypertension. Though VA has yet to add hypertension to its list of presumptive conditions, our office has been able to help veterans win service connection for hypertension, and this recent news about its connection to Agent Orange is extremely helpful.
As the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine wrote last week, “the committee came to this conclusion in part based on a recent study of U.S. Vietnam veterans by researchers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which found that self-reported hypertension rates were highest among former military personnel who had the greatest opportunity for exposure to these chemicals” [herbicides sprayed widely in Vietnam].
The committee also recommended a deeper study of the possible health effects handed down to children of Vietnam veterans who were exposed to herbicides such as Agent Orange during military service. However, you don't have to wait for the VA to add a presumptive condition to its list; with the right evidence and argument, you can always prove your disability is related to service even if it's not on the presumptive list.
It is unfortunate that it has taken over 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to add hypertension and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) to the list of disabilities presumptively connected to exposure to herbicides during military service. But this is good news for Vietnam veterans and their families, and we will continue to update you on health problems added to the VA’s “sufficient" category. If you have any questions about this news or anything else related to VA disability claims, please do not hesitate to contact the office of Attorney Sean Kendall at 303-449-4773.