Posts Tagged ‘Ischemic heart disease’

Agent Orange Claims Will Take Time To Pay

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and B-cell leukemia are the latest three diseases to be added to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presumptive disease list. The Congressional review period for Agent Orange claims ended on October 30, 2010, with Congress deciding not to prevent the 3 diseases from being added to the presumptive list. Vietnam veterans were looking for their first compensation checks now that all roadblocks have been seemingly removed. Like everything with the VA, however, things take time.

The VA’s first payments did hit the mail last week, but claims based on those 3 most recently added diseases only amounted to approximately 1300 claims, totaling about $8 million. The issue has now become the length of time it is going to take the VA to figure out the complex subject matter of retroactive payments. If the VA’s current plan pans out, they will be issuing disability rating decisions and checks on a weekly basis. What they will not be doing, however, is issuing floods of checks at a time.

The VA plans on paying approximately 163,000 claims associated with these 3 diseases. Their current schedule has them processing and paying all of these claims by October, 2011. This isn’t exactly how veterans thought the payments were going to happen. Because of the VA’s computer system, they could  not assign a disability rating to any of the claims before that 60 day waiting period lapsed.

Not unexpectedly, the VA does not have all the information it needs to rate and process retroactive disability claims, some of which date back 25 years. They are also attempting to establish time lines for individual diseases and their progressions as ratings will be dependent on this information.

It is unclear how many claims will need this information, but the next year will likely be a very watched one as veterans and the VA will continue their battle over disability compensation payments, albeit on a new battlefield.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.

VA’s Final Regulations on Agent Orange Exposure Announced

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Those veterans who can show they have been exposed to Agent Orange and suffer specific illnesses because of the exposure will benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) new rules. Those veterans will be able to collect disability compensation where they could not prior, and will have better access to the VA’s health care system.

The VA’s new rules add three more illnesses to their list of what they consider presumptive illnesses caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki stated the expansion to the presumptive illness list is supported by both the Agent Orange Act of 1991 requirements as well as the 2008 Update on Agent Orange compiled by the Institute of Medicine. The VA will be adding the following to their list of presumptive illnesses:

  • Parkinson’s Disease;
  • Ischemic heart disease; and
  • All chronic B-cell leukemias (to include Hairy Cell leukemia).

The VA’s new rules eliminate the requirement Vietnam veterans must demonstrate a correlation between their illness and their military service. It stands to reason all disability claims for presumptive illnesses should move through the claims process faster than other claims.

Vietnam veterans who served between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 will be presumed to have had exposure to herbicides. Disability claims from this group of veterans is expected to number 150,000. Additionally, the VA expects approximately 90,000 claims to be re-filed that were previously denied. It is possible the VA will pay claims retroactively, depending on each claim.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.

Agent Orange Benefits Expanded for Veterans

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Agent Orange is a defoliant herbicide that was used in Vietnam to clear trees and shrubs in order to expose enemy troops to American soldiers. The effects, however, were much more than expected. While the herbicide worked as it was designed, there were some very serious side effects.

Many veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their tours ended up suffering and disabled due to the exposure and those effects continue to this day. According to the VA, approximately 2.6 million Vietnam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange between January 1965 and April 1970.

The government has recognized and offered benefits for a select number of diseases they acknowledge resulted from exposure to Agent Orange. Recently however, the government expanded their list of acknowledged agent orange-related diseases to now include:

  • B cell leukemia;
  • Ischemic heart disease; and
  • Parkinson’s disease.

Not only is the government recognizing that these diseases are related to Agent Orange exposure, but there is a very real possibility that widows may also be entitled to some benefits based on those conditions. Furthermore, the VA benefits are not only limited to Agent Orange exposure, but most likely to exposure to other herbicides as well.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.