Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange in Korea DMZ Will Have Easier Path to Benefits

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WASHINGTON, DC–Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving along the demilitarized zone in Korea will have an easier path to access quality health care and benefits under a VA final regulation that will expand the dates when illnesses caused by herbicide exposure can be presumed to be related to Agent Orange.

Under the final regulation published this week in the Federal Register, VA will presume herbicide exposure for any veteran who served between April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971, in a unit determined by VA and DoD to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ in which herbicides were applied.  

Previously, VA recognized that Agent Orange exposure could only be conceded to Veterans who served in certain units along the Korean DMZ between April 1968 and July 1969.  

In practical terms, eligible veterans who have specific illnesses VA presumes to be associated with herbicide exposure do not have to prove an association between their illness and their military service.  This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits and ensures that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve.

Click on these links to learn about Veterans’ diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp and birth defects in children of Vietnam-era Veterans at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/birth_defects.asp.

VA encourages Veterans with covered service in Korea who have medical conditions that may be related to Agent Orange to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation as soon as possible so the agency can begin processing their claims.

Individuals can go to website http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/AO/claimherbicide.htm to get a more complete understanding of how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what evidence is needed by VA to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits.

Comments (2)

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  1. Thomas Lucken says:

    VA is avoiding recognizing vets especially after 1971 as being exposed to the Dioxins.. Took 40 years, but the government admitted to spraying along the DMZ. They also have admitted that the dioxins reside in the ground/soil for decades! But what they REFUSE to admit, that Troops were still exposed to the dioxins from 1972 to 1991 after the use. Now many DMZ vets from that time period are now ailing from A.O. So when are we going to take care all of our veterans?????

  2. Thomas Lucken says:

    Here is a statement that came from another veteran’s appeal and he won in reference of Agent Orange/Dioxins in Korea. He was station there in 1977-78, well past the presumptive dates:

    “He further stated that although he served after the Agent Orange “presumptive” period, the December 1998 toxicology study of record demonstrates that the half-life of dioxins on the surface is nine to 15 years and the sub-surface is 25 to 100 years.”

    Also, tons of personal and unit equipment was covered with Agent Orange spray when used. They equipment was never cleaned properly as we all know and was passed on to others through the years!
    Besides the ground/soil, Agent Orange was soaked into the various structures when it was sprayed and never was cleaned properly. Many of these same structures were used well past the 1980’s.

    Well into the late 80s, vegetation was still bare along many parts of the DMZ that we patrolled, guarded, dug holes in for trash and bodily functions and for foxholes….

    The soil which was saturated with Agent Orange during the use of it; 68 to 71. Retains the Dioxins for years to come as noted in many toxicology reports. The same very soil that we laid in and did combat patrols and ambushes, the summer time it was just outright mud during the monsoon seasons. The same very soil when it rain, the rain ran off into the underground streams which fed water to our various camps up along and on the DMZ. The same water, we bathed in, cooked, drank, and so forth.

    In Vietnam, the US Government has worked with the Vietnamese government to clean up the areas that Agent Orange was used and store. We have not done that in Korea yet or even made any attempts known to the public sector!

    It took till 2011 to even admit that Agent Orange was used in Korea, 40 years prior. How much more is kept covered and hidden from the public?

    There are many veterans who suffer severely from Agent Orange Dioxins before and long after the presumptive dates of 68 to 71. Many don’t even know that it was used in Korea till just recently, just I found out personally about a year ago. And most Veterans are denied, just because they don’t simply fall within the presumptive dates for Korea!!!!

    The VA’s Agent Orange Registry is a big hoax! We as veterans assume they refuse to allow the Registry to be done on Veterans outside the 68 to 71 presumptive dates, because the truth will come out that many of us were exposed well into the 1980s and the early 1960s!!!! The Registry needs to be opened up, to show that there is an issue outside of the Presumptive Dates!!!!!!!!

    We did our duty, and now we are being punished for it! We are did out part and now we are asking the VA/Government to do their part!

    Thomas J. Lucken
    Korean DMZ Veteran

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