More Veterans Deserve Benefits for Agent Orange-Related Conditions, West Virginia Attorney Says

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West Virginia Veterans' benefits attorney Jan Dils praises the VA's decision to expand the list of conditions that are presumed to be related to Agent Orange, saying it will help Vietnam Veterans who have been suffering without benefits.

Jan Dils

This is encouraging news for the thousands of Vietnam Veterans who have suffered from these diseases for so many years as a result of their exposure to these harmful chemicals.

Veterans exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides will have a faster and easier route to disability benefits thanks to a regulation change by the Department of Veterans Affairs, West Virginia Veterans’ benefits attorney Jan Dils says.

The change adds Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease to the list of conditions that the VA will presume are related to the Veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides while serving in Vietnam, and it expands the list of Agent Orange-related chronic lymphocytic leukemias to include all chronic B cell leukemias.

If an illness is “presumed” to be service connected, Veterans do not need to prove a link between their medical problems and their military service, which can simplify and expedite the benefits claims process, Dils says.

“This is encouraging news for the thousands of Vietnam Veterans who have suffered from these diseases for so many years as a result of their exposure to these harmful chemicals,” says Dils, the founder of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, L.C., which has six offices in West Virginia and North Carolina. “I applaud the VA for making this decision, which will allow more Veterans to receive the benefits they deserve.”

According to the Associated Press, Agent Orange was a defoliant sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam to strip the Viet Cong of cover during the war.

Under the VA rule change, soldiers who served in Vietnam at any point between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975 will be presumed to have been exposed to these herbicides.

The agency based its decision on a 2008 independent study by the Institute of Medicine that examined health problems associated with Agent Orange.

According to the VA, more than 150,000 Veterans are expected to file Agent Orange claims in the next 12 to 18 months, including claims for retroactive disability payments. Another 90,000 previously denied claims are expected to be filed as well.

“Due to the high number of expected claims, including pending claims and previously denied claims, I would encourage Vietnam veterans with these Agent Orange-related illnesses to begin the application process right away,” Dils says.

The regulation change must undergo a 60-day Congressional review before it is implemented. The VA says it can begin paying benefits for new claims once that review period ends.

About Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, L.C.

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, L.C., focuses exclusively on helping individuals with disabilities get the financial help they deserve from the government by seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Social Security Administration. The firm features West Virginia offices in Charleston, Parkersburg, Huntington, Logan and Beckley and one office in Charlotte, North Carolina. To learn more about Veterans’ benefits and Social Security disability benefits, contact the firm by calling (877) 838-3726 or using its online form.

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