The horrible effects of Agent Orange are no secret. Agent Orange was used for clearing foliage during the Vietnam War and many veterans were exposed to it.
At first, the government only recognized one condition related to Agent Orange exposure – chloracne, a skin condition. In the 1990s, the government acknowledged that more conditions–some of which are debilitating–are related to its exposure.
During that time, it became apparent that exposure to the herbicide was not only dangerous to service members but also to their children. Now, some veterans and their doctors claim that even grandchildren of veterans have been impacted by their grandparent’s exposure.
But the VA does not offer disability benefits for grandchildren of Agent Orange veterans, and it allows benefits to children of Vietnam veterans only under certain circumstances.
This article explains which children of Vietnam vets qualify for benefits and under what conditions.
In this article about Agent Orange birth defects in children and grandchildren
- How exposure to Agent Orange affects Vietnam veterans
- Do women qualify for Vietnam Agent Orange disability?
- Agent Orange birth defects in children
- Do Agent Orange victims qualify for VA disability?
- How Woods and Woods can help
How exposure to Agent Orange affects Vietnam veterans
Vietnam veterans who have been diagnosed with a long list of health conditions and diseases, which are considered presumptive conditions as a result of Agent Orange exposure, are eligible for disability benefits. The conditions are:
- AL amyloidosis
- Bladder cancer
- Chronic B-cell leukemias
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Monoclonal gammopathies
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinson’s-like symptoms (Parkinsonism)
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancers
- Soft tissue sarcomas
The conditions on this list count toward a veteran’s VA disability rating. They or their surviving dependents should file a disability claim if they have not already done so.
Do women qualify for Vietnam Agent Orange disability?
Thousands of women served in Vietnam and are also Agent Orange victims even though they did not serve in combat. Female soldiers often served as nurses and other medical personnel in field hospitals, where they were likely exposed to Agent Orange.
Since it has been well documented that exposure leads to certain health problems, female veterans are eligible for disability benefits.
Agent Orange birth defects in children
Since Vietnam vets returned home and started having children, a worrying trend occurred. Many children were born with birth defects. Yet, the VA has not made a broad connection between birth defects Agent Orange exposure. It is very specific about which children qualify for disability benefits for birth defects and it depends on whether the child’s mother or the father served in Vietnam.
Spina bifida is the only birth defect related to Agent Orange exposure in male veterans that the VA recognizes. The list is much longer for children of female Vietnam veterans.
The VA recognizes that children born to female veterans who served in Vietnam have a higher incidence of birth defects, but it does not attribute these conditions to Agent Orange exposure.
Disability benefits are available to children with the following birth defects whose mothers served during the Vietnam War:
- Cleft lip or palate
- Hip dysplasia
- Congenital heart disease
- Esophageal and intestinal atresia
- Fused digits (syndactyly)
- Pyloric stenosis
- Neural tube defects
- Hallerman-Streiff syndrome
- Poland syndrome
- Williams syndrome
- Imperforate anus
- Tracheoesophageal fistula
- Hirschsprung’s disease
- Undescended testicle
Both the female veteran and her child are eligible for benefits. Once again, the VA does not connect these birth defects to Agent Orange, and these conditions are not eligible to a veteran’s grandchildren.
Third generation birth defects and health conditions
Some veterans and their families say they are dealing with Agent Orange birth defects in their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren.
Despite any anecdotal or academic evidence you may have read, the VA currently does not provide benefits for the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Vietnam veterans.
Do Agent Orange victims qualify for VA disability?
For a veteran to be eligible for VA disability as it pertains to Agent Orange, they need to meet these requirements:
- Have a condition recognized by the VA to be an Agent Orange presumptive condition
- Served in an area that exposed you to Agent Orange
Normally, a veteran must prove they developed a condition or sustained a debilitating injury during their active-duty service, or that a preexisting condition worsened during or because of their service. That is not the case with Agent Orange cases. The VA has an Agent Orange presumptive conditions list based on the most current research and data. If a veteran is diagnosed with any of the conditions on the list, they will automatically be eligible for benefits.
Spouses and dependents of veterans who have died
The spouses and dependent children of veterans who died because of an illness caused by Agent Orange or those who died in the line of duty are eligible for survivor benefits. Qualifications depend on when the surviving spouse and the veteran were married, whether they had children, or got a divorce.
Benefits are also dependent upon the veteran’s eligibility. For example, if the veteran was eligible for 100% disability coverage, they need to have had that rating for 10 years prior to their death. Other conditions may apply depending on the time spent in active duty or whether they were a prisoner of war.
Agent Orange Victims & Widows Support Network
The Agent Orange Victims & Widows Support Network, Inc. is a non-profit organization that draws attention to the devastating health effects of Agent Orange on veterans and their families.
Veterans or surviving family members of veterans can join the network to give and receive support. Donations to the organization allow them to continue providing support and informational resources to veterans and their dependents. Contributions also allow them to continue shedding light on the long-term effects of Agent Orange so that those affected get the compensation they deserve.
How Woods and Woods can help
Though the government now recognizes more debilitating conditions related to Agent Orange, many veterans have not received benefits. Perhaps they did not realize what they have is on the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list or they thought it would be too much trouble to apply. Unfortunately, failing to apply means they are not receiving benefits which could have made life easier for them and their families.
Thankfully, a veteran is never too old to apply for benefits, and even if the veteran has passed, his or her surviving family members could still be eligible for benefits as well.
The legal team at Woods and Woods is determined to assist veterans and their families to get the compensation they are owed.
The Woods and Woods legal team will fight just as hard for a veteran’s dependents or survivors. We have been helping veterans and their families for over 35 years. We know how to win cases and will work hard to achieve successful results for any veteran who retains them.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
No. The VA does not offer disability benefits for grandchildren of Agent Orange veterans. These benefits are only available to children of Vietnam veterans under certain circumstances.
New laws and medical discoveries have changed the conditions and benefits that the VA will pay. For example, veterans in the Blue Water Navy who were denied 3 years ago are now eligible.