We have previously blogged and made a Facebook video discussing “presumptive conditions.” Presumptive Conditions are illnesses related to or caused by a Veteran’s qualifying military service (such as diseases related to Agent Orange). In layperson’s terms, the VA concedes that if you were in specific regions during a particular timeframe and you now have a specific illness, it was caused by that military service.
The VA has recognized several cancers and other health problems as presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure or exposure to other herbicides during their military service. Veterans and also their survivors may be eligible for benefits for the following diseases. (The following list is not inclusive and is subject to change at any time).
Agent Orange Related Diseases
- AL Amyloidosis: This is a rare disease caused by abnormal proteins or amyloids entering organs or body tissue.
- Bladder Cancer: This cancer affects the bladder, where urine is stored before it exits the body.
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias: This type of cancer affects white blood cells. It includes all chronic B-cell leukemias, including but not limited to chronic lymphocytic leukemia and hairy-cell leukemias.
- Chloracne (or similar acne-type disease): This skin condition occurs soon after chemical exposure and appears as common forms of teen acne. The VA rating regulations state it must be at least 10% disabling within a year of herbicide exposure.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: This disease is characterized by high blood sugar levels stemming from the body’s inability to respond to hormone insulin levels appropriately.
- Hypertension: Commonly known as high blood pressure.
- Hodgkin’s Disease: This malignant lymphoma is known by progressive enlargement of multiple organs, including the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, as well as progressive anemia.
- Hypothyroidism: This condition causes the thyroid to produce lowered levels of certain essential hormones.
- Ischemic Heart Disease: This disease is identified by its reduced blood supply to the heart, leading to chest pain.
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS): This condition is characterized by an abnormal protein, identified as monoclonal protein, being present in the blood.
- Multiple Myeloma: This cancer is found in plasma cells, which are white blood cells in the bone marrow.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: This is a set of cancers that affect the lymph glands and additional lymphatic tissues.
- Parkinsonism: This is any condition that causes a combination of abnormal movements, such as slow movements, trouble speaking, muscle stiffness, or tremors.
- Parkinson’s Disease: This progressive neurological disorder affects muscle movement.
- Early-Onset Peripheral Neuropathy: A condition affecting the nervous system by causing numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. The VA regulates that it must be at least 10% disabling within a year of herbicide exposure.
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda: This disorder is characterized by liver dysfunction and the blistering and thinning of skin in sun-exposed areas. Again, the VA regulates that it must be at least 10% disabling within a year of herbicide exposure.
- Prostate Cancer: This is one of the most common cancers among men.
- Respiratory Cancers: This includes lung cancer, larynx cancer, trachea cancer, and cancer of the bronchus.
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas: This group of cancers is found in the body tissues, including muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.
CHILDREN WITH BIRTH DEFECTS
If, as a Veteran of the Vietnam or Korean War, your child/children have certain congenital disabilities, the VA presumes the Veteran’s qualifying military service causes them.
LOU GEHRIGS DISEASE
The VA presumes that Veterans diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), who had 90 days or more of continuous active military service, their diagnosis is related to their service.
There are steps that Veterans and the average person can take to help prevent heart disease, cancer, and other diseases that accompany aging. Getting recommended health screenings, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and not smoking are a few ways to change your lifestyle to become and include more healthy choices.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
If you are a Veteran with either an existing benefits claim or considering beginning a claim, let the VA specialists at Parmele Law Firm help you with this often confusing, convoluted process. For more information, visit us online, or you can also visit our Facebook page and watch the videos we have created discussing VA benefits and the PACT ACT. Additionally, you may call us to schedule your no-cost initial consultation at 417-616-2691. We are here to guide you with integrity, competency, and experience.