Depending on your situation, you may or may not have to file a new claim. A claims representative or attorney can help you determine what needs to be done to ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (PRWEB) January 5, 2011
Vietnam veterans whose healthcare and disability claims for Agent Orange-related illnesses were previously denied, or their survivors, may qualify for retroactive compensation under a recent VA regulation change, Josh Stone of the South Florida law firm of Gordon & Doner said this week.
Agent Orange was an herbicide used by the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam to clear dense jungle foliage during the war. On August 31, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a final regulation that added Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease and B-cell (or hairy cell) leukemia to the list of service-connected presumptive illnesses due to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
A “presumptive” illness means that a veteran does not need to prove a link between their medical problems and their military service, Stone said.
After a 60-day congressional review of the regulation expired October 30, the VA began to process healthcare and disability claims for the new Agent Orange presumptive illnesses, including making retroactive awards.
“If a Vietnam veteran had a claim for one of these three Agent Orange-related illnesses previously denied, then the veteran should contact an experienced veterans’ claims representative or veterans’ benefits attorney right away to learn more about their eligibility for retroactive payments,” Stone said.
“A surviving spouse may also be eligible to receive these awards in addition to other benefits, including dependency and indemnity compensation and burial benefits,” he said.
Stone, an Accredited Non-Attorney Claims Representative/Agent within the Department of Veterans Affairs and a U.S. Navy veteran, leads Gordon & Doner’s Veterans’ Benefits Division.
“Depending on your situation, you may or may not have to file a new claim,” Stone said. “A claims representative or attorney can help you determine what needs to be done to ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.”
According to a September 2010 article in Stars & Stripes, the VA believes that as many as 93,000 veterans and survivors who previously filed claims for Agent Orange-related Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease and B-cell leukemia may now be in line for retroactive pay.
The article said another 60,000 claims have been filed since October 2009, when the VA announced the three conditions would be added to the list of Agent Orange presumptive conditions.
The VA’s decision was due, in part, to a July 2009 Institute of Medicine report that found a strong connection between the three illnesses and exposure to Agent Orange dioxins.
According to the VA’s website, 19,539 claims relating to the Agent Orange presumptive illnesses have been granted through December 20, with an average award of $17,133. Nearly $335 million in retroactive compensation has been paid.
About Gordon & Doner
The Florida law firm of Gordon & Doner has been serving the South Florida community for more than 17 years, with offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Stuart, Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale. The firm’s practice areas include personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, defective products, workers’ compensation and immigration law in addition to veterans’ benefits claims. To learn more about the firm’s Veterans’ Benefits Division, call Gordon & Doner at (561) 333-3333 or (800) 659-1159 or use its convenient online form.
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