Veterans Disability Benefits: Agent Orange and Service in Korea.By Chris Attig | Permalink
October 26th in VA Benefits, Vietnam & Agent Orange.
Agent Orange was not only used in Vietnam. There is confirmed use of it in Korea, Thailand, and a couple of other locations.
If a veteran served in Korea, along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from April to August 1968 and/or May to July 1969, then that Veteran is going to be entitled to presumptive service connection for Agent Orange exposure.
The Department of Defense provided, and the VA recognizes, that service in one of these units is one of the elements of presumptive service connection for Agent Orange exposure along the Korean DMZ:
2nd ID: Combat Brigade
7th Infantry Division: 3rd Brigade
7th Cavalry: 4th Battalion
7th Cavalry: 4th Squadron, Counter Agent Company
9th Infantry: 1st and 2nd Battalions
10th Cavalry: 2nd Battalion
12th Artillery: 1st Battalion
13th Engineer Combat Battalion
15th Artillery: 1st Battalion
17th Artillery: 7th Battalion
17th Infantry: 1st and 2nd battalions
23rd Infantry: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions
31st Infantry: 2nd Battalion (Service Records may show assignment to 2ID or 7ID)
32nd Infantry, 1st Battalion (3rd BDE of 7ID)
32nd Infantry: 3rd Battalion (Service Records may show assignment to 2ID or 7ID)
37th Artillery: 6th Battalion
38th Infantry: 1st and 2nd Battalions
38th Artillery: 5th Battalion
72nd Armor: 1st and 2nd Battalion
73rd Armor: 1st Battalion
United Nations Command Security Battalion – Joint Security Area (UNCSB-JSA) *
* Thanks to Larry A., a reader of our blog, for information about the presumption related to members of this unit.
So, here are the three (3) things you need to show to get the benefit of presumptive service connection for Agent Orange exposure for military service along the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam War:
1) Service in Korea between April to August 1968 and/or May to July 1969;
2) Service in one of the above-listed units, and,
3) A current diagnosis of one of the conditions on the list of diseases and conditions presumptively connected to Agent Orange exposure.
If you meet all these criteria, and still have been denied by the VA in your claim for disability compensation benefits, contact an attorney with experience handling claims before the VA Regional Office, BVA and/or CAVC.
Don’t let the VA Regional Office get away with telling you that you aren’t entitled to service-connection just because you don’t meet the presumptive criteria. This happens in some of the following situations:
1) Veteran served along Korean DMZ, but shortly after the times when the spraying is acknowledged to have occurred;
2) Veteran served during the time spraying occurred, but was not officially assigned to the particular units known to have been exposed to Agent Orange, or may have been temporarily assigned or detailed to one of those units, without official orders;
3) Veteran served during the time spraying occurred, in one of the units known to have been exposed to Agent Orange, but has a condition that is not on the VA list of conditions presumptively connected to Agent Orange exposure.
Just because you are in one of the above categories does not mean that you cannot be service connected for Agent Orange exposure; it does mean that you are going to have to fight a longer fight, and explore different ways to prove the connection between your Agent Orange exposure and your current medical conditions.
So, if you are in the above situation, what do you do? Contact an attorney that has experience representing Veterans in their claim for disability benefits to see:
1) If your claim has been “finally denied”, if there is any way to re-open it
2) If your claim has not been “finally denied”, what evidence you might submit to support direct service connection or secondary service connection for your conditions.
Why do you want to do this? After all, you fought the VA for years, it didn’t work and you think you have no way to prove that your disease or disability is connected to the Agent Orange that you know you were exposed to along the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam War.
First, new “presumptive conditions” are being added to the list all the time – some as recently as 2009. Re-opening your claim now may help you secure an earlier Effective Date for your benefits.
Second, there may be evidence to support your claim for direct service connection that you just don’t know about. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a NOVA conference (my Firm and its attorneys are members of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates – NOVA) with hundreds of Veterans Disability Benefits Advocates – at that conference, I learned so much new information that I am reviewing all of my Veterans’ current cases to see if there is “more than one way to skin a cat”.
Third, there are things that you can do to determine other strategies for getting the VA to provide you treatment or compensation that you deserve and that you are entitled to. While no attorney can guarantee that the VA will ever grant you a benefit or pay your claim, I will guarantee that that you will have another soldier by your side through the process.
The Attig Law Firm represents U.S. Veterans who have been denied disability benefits for injuries that resulted from their military service. The Firm currently represents peace-time and war-time veterans of all branches of the military, at all levels of the claim process (VA Regional Office, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims). Contact the Attig Law Firm if you would like to discuss your claim for disability benefits before the VA.
No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the Veteran, some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Veterans. The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case. Likewise, their may be information that is applicable to your case that is not provided on this Veterans Disability Compensation Blog.
It is very important that we note that each and every Veteran’s claim is different. Just because we were able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Veteran does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you. In some cases, we may not be able to secure you any financial compensation due to the facts of your particular case.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with VA Disability claims and benefits or a Veterans Service Organization to examine your particular case. If you would like to discuss your VA claim with a lawyer who handles VA Benefits and Disability Appeals, contact the Attig Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation with a VA Benefits attorney.