What Veterans Should Know About the Agent Orange Settlement Fund
To Get the Compensation They Deserve
The latest medical research adds a steady stream of new research on diseases that can be traced to Agent Orange exposure. Unfortunately, many veterans fail to keep up with this new data and information.
According to the Vietnam Veterans of America, our military suffered debilitating effects of various Agent Orange-related diseases for many years. Some of these newer conditions were not known back then, so they weren't included as reasons for compensation when most veterans applied for it or researched the possibility of doing so.
Veterans have to know about the Agent Orange settlement fund, just as it goes with the more modern asbestos settlement fund. So let's get into the details!
What is the Agent Orange Settlement Fund
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the Agent Orange Settlement Fund was established in 1984 to settle claims against Agent Orange manufacturers, including Dow Chemical and Mons. The Settlement Fund closed in 1997, but multiple inquiries over the years have resulted in funds being awarded by the VA. As newer and newer diseases are proven to be caused by Agent Orange, a whole new class of victims has surfaced.
The original class-action lawsuit (counting about 10 million plaintiffs) was filed by Vietnam Veterans and didn't involve the VA or any other branch of the Federal government. The VA approves the new awards, including compensation for various new diseases that didn't make the original cut. The Agent Orange Settlement Fund required registering for the class action lawsuit by December 31, 1994, but many veterans didn't bother because their illnesses didn't make it to the initial list. The settlement offer was made outside court jurisdiction and totaled $180 million, making it the largest settlement of its kind in history up to 1994.
Victims Missing Out on Compensation
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, many victims of Agent Orange are missing out on potential compensation. If you applied for disability based on Agent Orange in the past, your case is now reactivated. Agent Orange was an herbicide used to clear jungle foliage in Vietnam. Originally, only one disease was recognized as clearly caused by Agent Orange: a skin condition called chloracne (an acne-like eruption of cysts, blackheads, and blemishes associated with exposure to certain toxic substances). However, the list of related diseases grew as advances in medical technology improved the understanding of related diseases. The VA list now includes:
● Ischemic heart disease
● Lung and trachea cancers
● Multiple cases of myeloma
● Soft-tissue sarcomas
● Prostate cancer
● Parkinson's disease
● Hodgkin's disease
● Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
● Peripheral neuropathy
● Type 2 diabetes
● AL amyloidosis
● Chronic B-cell leukemia
● Porphyria cutanea tarda
Thousands of veterans don't realize that their disease has made the list for compensation. Other diseases like bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism are the newest additions to the list.
Suppose you face any of these terrible diseases caused by Agent Orange exposure and want to understand how you could claim compensation. In that case, you should contact a specialized attorney in veterans' rights. Read more here to get detailed info about filing a new claim for disability based on the changes in the law. Receiving funds for back medical expenses and future treatments can total quite a bit of compensation. Again, experienced lawyers can help you understand your eligibility and your rights.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve
Once a disease is placed on the VA list, it becomes much easier to qualify for disability. For example, you don't have to prove exposure to Agent Orange because that's hopeless after all this time. However, you need to prove that you were stationed in Vietnam or along its many waterways between 1962 and 1975. The same holds true for Korean veterans stationed in the demilitarized zone between 1968 and 1971, where Agent Orange exposure also occurred. Therefore, we recommend you check the list of service requirements for the presumption of exposure issued by the VA to see if you are eligible for compensation.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
The VA is here to help you; there is no doubt about it. In a recent release, they said they would automatically review your case again if they denied your claim for bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinson's in the past. In fact, you don't even have to file another claim, as they will send you a letter regarding your case's review.
Nevertheless, for other Agent Orange-related diseases, hiring an experienced attorney is the first step in winning compensation for disabilities caused by Agent Orange exposure. After all this time, you don't want to risk not proving your case because you didn't hire a lawyer.