Agent Orange exposure and VA disability compensation

April 6, 2021

 

If you have an illness that’s not on our list of presumptive diseases, but you believe it was caused by Agent Orange exposure, you can still file a claim for VA disability benefits. But you’ll need to submit more evidence. Keep reading to learn about service requirements and supporting evidence.

Service requirements for presumption of exposure

We base eligibility for VA disability compensation benefits, in part, on whether you served in a location that exposed you to Agent Orange. We call this having a presumption of exposure.

You have a presumption of exposure if you meet at least one of the service requirements listed below.

Between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, you must have served for any length of time in at least one of these locations:

  • In the Republic of Vietnam, or
  • Aboard a U.S. military vessel that operated in the inland waterways of Vietnam, or
  • On a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, or
  • On regular perimeter duty on the fenced-in perimeters of a U.S. Army installation in Thailand or a Royal Thai Air Force base. These bases include U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, or Don Muang.

Or at least one of these must be true. You:

  • Served in or near the Korean DMZ for any length of time between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971, or
  • Served on active duty in a regular Air Force unit location where a C-123 aircraft with traces of Agent Orange was assigned, and had repeated contact with this aircraft due to your flight, ground, or medical duties, or
  • Were involved in transporting, testing, storing, or other uses of Agent Orange during your military service, or
  • Were assigned as a Reservist to certain flight, ground, or medical crew duties at one of the below locations.

Eligible Reserve locations, time periods, and units include:

  • Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio, 1969 to 1986 (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadrons)
  • Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts, 1972 to 1982 (731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, or 901st Organizational Maintenance Squadron)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport in Pennsylvania, 1972 to 1982 (758th Airlift Squadron)

 

For more service requirement details, review:

Public Law 116-23 (Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019)

Air Force specialty codes and units for affected C-123 aircraft (PDF)

Dates and locations of herbicide tests and storage outside Vietnam 

How to get disability benefits for Agent Orange–related claims

How do I get these benefits?

For disability benefits, you’ll need to:

What evidence will I need to submit with my claim?

You’ll need to submit these records:

  • A medical record that shows you have an Agent Orange‒related illness, and
  • Military records to show how you were exposed to Agent Orange during your service

If your illness isn’t on the list of presumptive diseases, you’ll also need to provide at least one of these types of evidence:

  • Evidence that shows the problem started during—or got worse because of—your military service, or
  • Scientific or medical evidence stating that the illness you have is caused by Agent Orange. Scientific proof may include an article from a medical journal or a published research study.

Get your VA medical records online

What military records will I need to submit?

You’ll need to submit your discharge or separation papers that show your time and location of service. These may include your DD214 or other separation documents.

For certain claims, you may also need more supporting documents.

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