If your aging relative or their spouse served in the military during the Vietnam War, they may be eligible for benefits that they aren’t even aware of. In the past, the United States Department of Veterans Affair (VA) only recognized a skin condition called chloracne as being associated with Agent Orange, which was widely used during the war. The list of diseases linked to Agent Orange has greatly expanded, but many veterans don’t know that a condition they’ve been dealing with for years is on the list. Caregivers who assist an older adult who served in Vietnam may be able to help them get additional benefits from the VA.
What is Agent Orange?
Agent Orange was a kind of herbicide used during the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to make trees drop their leaves and kill the plant life that offered enemies cover. It was developed specifically for combat situations and was not available commercially. Though there were other kinds of herbicides used, Agent Orange was the U.S. military’s herbicide of choice. It got its name because the drums it was stored in were marked with an orange stripe.
What Diseases Could Be Eligible for Benefits?
According to the VA, it does not matter where in Vietnam your aging relative served. If they were in Vietnam, they may be eligible for benefits. They must have been in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, but veterans and their family caregivers do not have to provide proof the older adult was exposed to the herbicide.
The diseases included on the expanded list are called “presumptive diseases.” This means that the VA presumes the condition the veteran has was caused by their service in the military.
Diseases on this list include:
Chronic B-Cell Leukemia
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Ischemic Heart Disease
Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
Soft Tissue Sarcomas
Caregivers with older family members who may be eligible for these benefits should assist the senior to file a claim with the VA. The VA will conduct a review of the claim. During the review, they will look over the senior’s military records to make sure they served during the relevant time period and in Vietnam. They may also arrange for the veteran to receive a medical examination to determine eligibility.
Legacy Home Care offers a complimentary initial assessment in the home with a registered social worker who will help develop a specialized care plan for safety and consistency of care. We are here to help and can be reached at 480-777-0070, or you can visit us at www.legacyhomecare.net.Back to Top
July 07, 2019
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