The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently passed a rule expanding the number of Korean War veterans exposed to herbicides who are eligible for health benefits through the VA. The new rule extends the years Veterans exposed to herbicide while serving adjacent to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) qualify for VA benefits.
Prior to this rule, only veterans who had served in specific units qualified, and those units were limited to serving along the DMZ between April 1, 1968 and July 31, 1969. The new rules pushes those time lines out to April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971. Any veteran who served in Korea during these times are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides. Only indisputable evidence to the contrary, such as proof the veteran was on leave at the time, will be able to overcome the presumption.
Exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange have proven to cause a number of diseases ranging from acute and sub-acute peripheral neuropathy to heart disease to Parkinson’s disease to a great number of cancers. Many times diseases do not surface for years and spina bifida is a common disease among those exposed veterans’ children. Somewhere around 21,000 gallons of Agent Orange were used between 1968 and 196 in the DMZ alone. It is likely thousands of veterans were exposed during this time.
The VA’s new rule will go live on February 24, 2011. As of that date, the rule will be applied to all claims for benefits submitted on or after that date as well as any and all claims not yet resolved in front of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the VA itself as of that date.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.