New Disability Benefits Could Soon Be Available to Vietnam Vets

West Virginia lawyer Jan Dils favors expanded coverage for military veterans harmed by Agent Orange.

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Jan Dils

Thousands of our nation’s veterans are suffering today because of their exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange in Vietnam. This decision recognizes the fact that these veterans need help, and it speeds up the claims process.

Parkersburg, WV (PRWEB) April 24, 2010

According to attorney Jan Dils, Vietnam veterans who have developed diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, B cell leukemia and ischemic heart disease should have an easier time obtaining disability benefits under a recently proposed change in veterans benefits.

In March, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published a proposed rule change that will add these three illnesses to the list of health problems presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides.

“Thousands of our nation’s veterans are suffering today because of their exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange in Vietnam,” said Dils, whose law firm focuses on helping disabled individuals receive Veterans disability and Social Security disability compensation. “This decision recognizes the fact that these veterans need help, and it speeds up the claims process.”

Dils said that the proposed rule change would allow disabled Vietnam veterans to receive the help they deserve without having to prove a specific link between their disease and military service. Veterans who served in Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to dangerous herbicides. A 2009 study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences found evidence that exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War was associated with an increased chance of developing certain diseases.

The VA’s final rule will be published later this year, after a period of public comment and review. Dils said veterans who have been diagnosed with any of the listed diseases should start the process of applying for disability benefits. Once a disease is added to the VA’s list of ailments linked to Agent Orange, veterans with the disease can become eligible for benefits to the date of filing. “The earlier the date of filing, the more back disability benefits the vet will receive, so it’s best not to delay,” Dils said.

She added that the rule change also promises to be good news for Vietnam veterans who have previously had claims denied for disabilities related to these diseases. They may be eligible to collect retroactive disability payments to the date that their original claims were rejected, after 1985.

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used more than 19 million gallons of herbicides to remove leaves from trees that provide enemy cover, and to destroy crops in the Republic of Vietnam. This new rule will increase the number of illnesses associated with herbicide exposure to 14 and significantly expand the current leukemia definition. The full list of diseases associated with Agent Orange, including the newly added ones, can be found at:

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp
About Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

The firm of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law focuses exclusively on helping individuals with disabilities receive the financial compensation they deserve. The firm assists disabled clients at every stage in the applications and appeals process to obtain Veterans’ disability, Social Security disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Based in West Virginia, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law assists disabled clients nationwide. To contact the firm, call toll free at 1-877-JANDILS (1-877-526-3457) or visit the firm online at http://www.jandils.com.

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