The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees disability compensation, which is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.
There is a list of Presumptive Conditions that a veteran must have to apply for and receive disability compensation related to the categories listed later in the article. Those applying for disability compensation must have served during the time period that is applicable for each category and be suffering from a condition that is a known and listed side effect from their service.
Often, veterans are confused by these conditions – often because many of them fall under a category title such as “Prisoners of War” or “Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides.” However, just being a POW or a veteran who worked around Agent Orange is not enough to receive disability compensation, there must be a presumptive medical condition diagnosis.
For example, to fall under the “Agent Orange and Other Herbicide” category, a veteran must have served in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, must be presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in military operation, and also be suffering from one of 12 illnesses associated with such service.
To see the full list of applicable illnesses, please visit www.VSCsummitOH.us. Vietnam veterans who do not have one of the 12 illnesses can sign up for the VA’s Agent Orange registry to be contacted if additional illnesses make the list.
Once a valid illness is diagnosed, the VA considers other factors such as amount of exposure, onset of illness, family medical history, etc. before approving a claim.
The Presumptive Conditions categories are:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - the VA added Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease to its list of presumptive conditions. All veterans who develop ALS at any time after separation ma be eligible for disability compensation.
Prisoners of War – any length of time with presumed 10 percent disabling condition, includes types of anxiety and psychosis conditions, along with heart disease, osteoporosis and more.
Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides – service in the Republic of Vietnam from 1962 – 1975 with exposure to a herbicide used for military tactics. Twelve illnesses are presumed by the VA to be service-connected.
Veterans Exposed to Radiation – those who participated in “radiation risk activities” who have conditions presumed to be service- connected. Many illnesses are included that are leukemia, lymphoma and cancer-related.
Gulf War Veterans with Chronic Disabilities – covers those with chronic disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illnesses and/or medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses from those serving in Southwest Asia from 1990 through 1991 or to a degree of at least 10 percent anytime since then through 2011.
More details on disability compensation can be found at http://bit.ly/bFN9ND. VSC of Summit County can help veterans determine whether they are eligible for application for VA disability claims based on the presumptive conditions. To learn more, schedule an appointment at VSC by calling 330-643-2830.