VA Publishes Final Regulation to Aid Veterans Exposed to Agent
VA Health Care and Benefits Provided for Many Vietnam Veterans
WASHINGTON – Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam and other areas will have
an easier path to access quality health care and qualify for disability compensation under a final regulation that will be
published on August 31, 2010 in the Federal Register by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The new rule
expands the list of health problems VA will presume to be related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures to add two
new conditions and expand one existing category of conditions.
October, based on the requirements of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 and the Institute of Medicine’s 2008 Update on Agent
Orange, I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to award presumptions of service connection for these three
additional diseases,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “It was the right decision, and
the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved.”
The final regulation
follows Shinseki’s determination to expand the list of conditions for which service connection for Vietnam Veterans
is presumed. VA is adding Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease and expanding chronic lymphocytic leukemia
to include all chronic B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia.
In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed”
illness don’t have to prove an association between their medical problems and their military service. By
helping Veterans overcome evidentiary requirements that might otherwise present significant challenges, this “presumption”
simplifies and speeds up the application process and ensure that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
The Secretary’s decision to add these presumptives is based on the latest evidence provided in
a 2008 independent study by the Institute of Medicine concerning health problems caused by herbicides like Agent Orange.
Veterans who served in Vietnam anytime during the period beginning January 9, 1962, and ending on May
7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.