There are currently fourteen health conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange, including Ischemic Heart Disease.
If you have been diagnosed with Ischemic Heart Disease and are a Korean War veteran or served between 1962 and 1975 in the Republic of Vietnam, the Veterans Administration (VA) recognizes that you were presumably exposed to tactical herbicides like Agent Orange. Any veteran who served in places where Agent Orange was sprayed or stored is believed to have been exposed.
In This Article on Ischemic Heart Disease VA Benefits:
- Ischemic Heart Disease: What is it?
- Qualifying with Ischemic Heart Disease as a Presumptive Condition
- Ischemic Heart Disease Diagnosis
- Seeking A Second Opinion
- VA Disability Rating Method for Ischemic Heart Disease
- Appealing for Ischemic Heart Disease Denial Of Disability Benefits
- Ischemic Heart Disease VA Disability Benefits Eligibility Requirements
- Receiving Social Security Disability & VA Disability Benefits
Ischemic Heart Disease: What is it?
The Veterans Administration (VA), along with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, has compiled a list of diseases that it believes were caused by Agent Orange. If an exposed veteran develops one of these diseases, it is assumed that their exposure to Agent Orange was the cause and the disease is considered service-connected. Chronic B-cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and Ischemic Heart Disease were added to the VA’s list of twelve Agent Orange-related diseases in 2010. But what exactly is Ischemic Heart Disease?
According to the American Heart Association, Ischemic Heart Disease (also known as coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease) is caused by the narrowing of heart arteries. As these arteries become clogged by cholesterol build-up (plaque), the heart muscle receives less oxygenated blood. Without proper blood flow, the heart muscle is damaged and weakened, developing a condition in which the heart strains to pump blood throughout the body.
Ischemic Heart Disease can cause angina pectoris, a condition that causes discomfort and pain. The pain is often described as a feeling of extreme squeezing or pressure in or near the chest, which can expand to the shoulders, arms, neck, and back.
Other symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty sleeping
- Swelling of the feet and legs (edema)
- Weight gain
- Abdomen swelling
- Painful coughing and congestion
- Cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting
- Heartburn or indigestion
Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, but it is important to know that Ischemic Heart Disease can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure and heart attack. Also, it is not necessary to experience all symptoms in order to establish a service connection.
Qualifying with Ischemic Heart Disease as a Presumptive Condition
Even though your heart condition may not have been initially diagnosed as Ischemic Heart Disease, you may still qualify for the presumption. Other diagnoses that fall under the umbrella of Ischemic Heart Disease include ischemic cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, myocardial ischemia, and coronary artery disease. It is best to check with your doctor to find out if your specific diagnosis is a type of Ischemic Heart Disease.
There is no time frame needed to qualify for a presumptive condition; any veteran who was presumptively or directly exposed to Agent Orange can still qualify. If, for instance, a Vietnam veteran was originally exposed in 1972 and diagnosed 35 years later with Ischemic Heart Disease, you are still entitled to a service connection. This is true even if there were other contributing risk factors such as high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, or obesity. Exposure to Agent Orange determines the presumption of service connection.
Notably, any prior claims that were denied can be re-opened and re-adjudicated by the VA. If, for example, a previously denied claim is now covered under new regulations, the veteran will be eligible for compensation from the date of the original claim. This is true for all Agent Orange-related disabilities.
One of our VA disability lawyers goes over the Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions list in this video:
Ischemic Heart Disease Diagnosis
The VA’s Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (38 C.F.R § 3.309(e)) is very specific regarding what diagnoses qualify as service-connected:
“Disease associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents. If a veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent during active military, naval, or air service, the following diseases shall be service connected if the requirements of §3.307(a)(6) are met even though there is no record of such disease during service, provided further that the rebuttable presumption provisions of §3.307(d) are also satisfied.”38 C.F.R § 3.309(e)
In addition to listing many diseases that fall under this type of exposure, such as Hodgkin’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Prostate Cancer, Ischemic Heart Disease is also included. Specifically, they list Ischemic Heart Disease as “including, but not limited to, acute, subacute, and old myocardial infarction; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease (including coronary spasm) and coronary bypass surgery; and stable, unstable and Prinz metal’s angina).”
Most importantly, Ischemic Heart Disease is not limited to the specific listed conditions. Any veteran who has been exposed to Agent Orange should approach their doctor to find out if their condition is either a form of Ischemic Heart Disease or a condition the VA already listed and recognized as a qualifying form of Ischemic Heart Disease.
Seeking A Second Opinion
Your doctor will need to document if they conclude that your condition is not consistent with Ischemic Heart Disease. However, there may be a good reason to seek out a second opinion if:
- Your doctor is not a cardiologist. Cardiology is a specialized field of heart disease and an opinion offered by someone without the proper expertise may not be accurate.
- You require specialized cardiac testing. An accurate diagnosis may not be possible unless extensive testing, such as cardiac catheterization, echo tests, or stress tests, is performed. A complete cardiac assessment should be performed so that you can feel confident about the final determination.
- The results of your previous cardiac tests are outdated. Prior tests may have indicated that Ischemic Heart Disease was not present, but those results can change (and often do) when new tests are performed. Any opinion based on the results of old cardiac tests should be updated with information from current testing.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
VA Disability Rating Method for Ischemic Heart Disease
Determining the rating for Ischemic Heart Disease occurs after a veteran has been diagnosed and exposure to Agent Orange has been verified. The VA’s schedule of ratings for the cardiovascular system considers various factors, including:
- Symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, dyspnea, syncope, or angina
- Percentage of Ejection Fraction
- Cardiac METs (metabolic equivalent), which measure a veteran’s workload capacity
- Absence or presence of congestive heart failure
- The need for continuous medication
- Evidence of cardiac dilatation or hypertrophy
Assigning the correct disability rating is determined by factors listed in the VA’s rating schedule for heart disease. Percentages are assigned at 10, 30, 60, and 100 percent.
A 10 percent rating is designated to veterans who require continuous medication or whose MET score is an 8, 9, or 10. These scores must be accompanied by dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
A 30 percent rating is assigned to veterans whose electrocardiogram or X-ray indicates dilation or hypertrophy, or whose MET score is 6 or 7 and accompanied by fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath.
A 60 percent rating is assigned to veterans who experience at least one of the following:
- Dysfunction of the left ventricular with 30 to 50 percent of blood being pumped with each heartbeat.
- A MET score of 4 or 5 is accompanied by fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath.
- More than one congestive heart failure episode in the past year.
A 100 percent rating is assigned to veterans who experience at least one of the following:
- Dysfunction of the left ventricular with less than 30 percent of blood being pumped with each heartbeat.
- A MET score of 3 or less is accompanied by fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath.
- Routine congestive heart failure.
In addition to the above, the VA also considers any heart surgeries that are a part of the veteran’s medical history. Procedures such as cardiac transplant surgery, heart valve replacement, heart valve replacement, or having a pacemaker implanted will result in a 100 percent disability rating. They will also consider whether the heart disease prevents the veteran from working.
Appealing for Ischemic Heart Disease Denial Of Disability Benefits
If you have been wrongfully refused VA disability insurance for Ischemic Heart Disease, you are not alone. Every day, many veterans are denied their rightful compensation and are left wondering if they should appeal. The answer is yes. Many previously rejected claims by veterans suffering from Ischemic Heart Disease have successfully appealed.
Ischemic Heart Disease claims can be complicated, but our team of expert lawyers, paralegals, doctors, psychiatrists, and case managers has helped thousands of veterans and their families win claims and appeals. Some veterans already receiving benefits have even increased their rating due to worsening symptoms.
Here, one of our VA disability lawyers talks about what we do when we appeal your case to the Veteran’s Administration.
Ischemic Heart Disease VA Disability Benefits Eligibility Requirements
In order to qualify for benefits, veterans must have been discharged honorably and have a qualified diagnosis for Ischemic Heart Disease. It is important to consider that there are a wide variety of impairments that fall under the umbrella of Ischemic Heart Disease, so check with your doctor. Doing so could mean an increase in your disability benefits.
Veterans must file a claim to receive benefits; claims are not automatically filed by your doctor. You may need to provide proof that you were exposed to Agent Orange based on when and where you served, but the VA will be able to assist you with that process.
Talk to Us About Your Claim:
The VA doesn’t usually give 100% TDIU for just a single disability. They typically add up disabilities and veterans meet the criteria like this:
1. You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—andTaken from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/unemployability/
2. You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.
Receiving Social Security Disability & VA Disability Benefits
The benefits for Ischemic Heart Disease are not funded by the same program like Social Security Disability benefits, so receiving assistance for both is possible. Ischemic Heart Disease, caused by myocardial ischemia symptoms, is listed in the “Blue Book,” otherwise known as the Social Security Impairment Listing Manual. Applicants are required to demonstrate that their condition results in “very serious limitations in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living” in order to collect Social Security Disability benefits. Most applicants will be required to have recent heart test results, findings from a current physical exam and data gathered from an exercise tolerance test.
Even those who may have been denied Social Security Disability can still qualify for benefits through the VA. Each program, however, requires separate eligibility requirements, and Woods and Woods can help clarify any concerns and answer questions.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866)232-5777
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange who are experiencing qualified impairments or who have already been diagnosed with Ischemic Heart Disease qualify for VA benefits. If you are having difficulties getting disability compensation for your presumptive condition, understanding the terms, eligibility requirements, and processes is critical to obtaining the compensation you deserve.
At Woods and Woods, the Veteran’s Firm, we’ve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. We’ve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to better serve disabled veterans in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
Yes! Every day many are veterans are unjustly denied ischemic heart disease VA disability benefits. Many veterans are winning VA disability appeals that were previously wrongly denied. Our suggestion is to contact an experienced veteran benefits lawyer for free. Remember, the VA will have an attorney, shouldn’t you? The call is free. The consultation is free! Most importantly Woods and Woods only gets paid if we win your case! No recovery, no fee! Call now (866) 232-5777 or click here.
VA disability compensates veterans with ischemic heart disease who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War or Korean War. Agent Orange caused dozens of life-threatening impairments and the VA pays veterans that are suffering. Agent Orange is a major factor in many ischemic heart disease VA Disability benefits claims. Veterans filing ischemic heart disease VA Disability benefits claims have also had diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and atherosclerosis for years. Even if those impairments have not yet been rated by the VA, you may still be entitled to ischemic heart disease VA disability benefits.
Ischemic heart disease is any heart condition that reduces blood flow to the heart. Ischemic heart disease is often directly related to coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis. Ischemic heart disease is often caused by diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol levels.