What Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Must Know about “Service-Connected Disability Compensation” and “Presumptive Conditions”

Let’s begin by defining two terms.  Service-connected disability compensation refers to payment to veterans for disabilities resulting from an injury or illness linked to their military service.  Typically, a veteran must go through a lengthy process to prove that their disability stems from an injury or illness during their time in service.  However, the term “presumptive conditions” means that eligibility for service-connected compensation does not depend on proving a disability was caused by one’s military service.

So, in the case of Agent Orange, it is presumed that certain disabilities are the result of one’s exposure to Agent Orange during military service… and that the disability merits compensation.  Presumptive conditions include, among others:

  • 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
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Parkinson’s

In addition to these, the PACT Act recently added two more presumptive conditions:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)

It is worth noting that if you have a cancer or illness not on this list, but you believe it was caused by Agent Orange exposure during your military service, you can still file a claim for VA disability benefits.

The PACT Act also added five new “presumptive locations” of service-connected Agent Orange exposure.  The list is too long to include in this article, but you can find the complete list and a wide range of helpful information here.

I should mention that one of the eligible presumptive locations is Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts.  Reservists with presumptive conditions who served between 1972 and 1982 in the 731st Tactical Air Squadron, the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, or the 901st Organizational Maintenance Squadron may be eligible for compensation.

As always, I’m here to help every way I can.  Until next time, take care….