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VA Agent Orange Claim
Old 07-21-2012, 12:47 PM   #1
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VA Agent Orange Claim

After speaking to a VA counselor, I was encouraged to file a disability claim with the VA due to the fact that I was in the infantry in Vietnam and walked all over that country in the time that I was there. Dioxin (agent Orange) was sprayed over many locations in VN evidently, but no one knew at the time that it was a carcinogen or otherwise unhealthy. I have a few minor health issues, but at age 67 I think I'm in pretty good overall health. So in June 2010, I filed a claim with the Veterans Adimnistration.

It has now been over two years since the claim was filed (700+ days) and they are still researching the claim. Personally I do not care if the claim is approved or not as I do not expect or need any compensation. This time delay seems like a very long time, especially for those vets who are really sick and need the income that an approved claim would produce.

Have any other veterans of VN filed a VA claim and had simular or diffetent results?
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:20 PM   #2
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I have 3 friends on disability ( 1 VA the other 2 non-service related) in all 3 cases it took almost 2 years for the determination to be completed.
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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A recent news article indicated that the VA processes more than a million claims a year, and the current backlog is 558,000 claims (65% of pending claims). Their definition of "backlog" is that they have been on file more than 125 days without a decision.

New steps announced to reduce VA claims backlog

Typical response seems to be about 2 years to get a denial of an initial claim, then another 2 years for an appeal.

Anyone who is truly affected by this would be wise to get help. Veterans' organizations like the Disabled American Veterans and others have dedicated employees who can help expedite the process.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
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The first question is do you have one of the conditions attributed to AO?

Veterans' Diseases Associated with Agent Orange - Public Health

You can't file a claim just because you had boots on the ground.

Even if you have a condition, it will take quite a time. My first claim (filed many years ago) took a year. My upgraded claim (filed this spring) only resulted in a letter saying that "they are working on it".

Regardless of the time, if the claim is approved, you will receive compensation from the time the VA received the claim so nothing (in a financial sense) is lost.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:35 AM   #5
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In my case it took about 21 months. The VA covered back to the date of original filing.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:44 AM   #6
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My brother had an Agent Orange disability claim but I don't know if it was ever resolved one way or another. I do know that the process seemed very lengthy, and I suspect that his claim was probably denied. He is definitely disabled by one of the conditions on Rescueme's list, but I would imagine that proving this was due to Agent Orange must be difficult. He sincerely believes that was the cause. His son is a lawyer and was helping him with his claim.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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If you served Vietnam during the agent orange era and have one of the ailments on the list, it is assumed the ailment was caused by agent orange exposure. You only have to prove you have one or more of the listed ailments. NOT that agent orange caused it/them.

Best bet....get a VSO (Veterans Service Officer) to assist you with the claim. Beleive me it really makes a difference. I dealt with the American Legion and they were very helpful.

For me, time of claim to settlement was less than two years and beneifits were paid from date of claim...nice check! Once the VSO became involved things started to move quickly.

Anybody have questions of how I proceded, please PM me.

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Old 07-22-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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Ran across this article regarding this issue. Looks like I am part of a group of over 800k vets and also part of a 55% group as well, though my 700+ days is much longer than the 125 days quoted in the piece.

Quote:
The VA announced before the hearing that the backlog increase due to the processing of retroactive Agent Orange claims has been largely addressed which should free up claims processors around the country. As of today, however, VA’s backlog stands at 839,028 claims, of which more than 55 percent have been pending more than 125 days.
25 June 2012 Legislative News Update
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
I have a few minor health issues, but at age 67 I think I'm in pretty good overall health. .......So in June 2010, I filed a claim with the Veterans Adimnistration.
While I'm not an American, if I were, I'd wonder what your reasons were. Can you tell us?
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
While I'm not an American, if I were, I'd wonder what your reasons were. Can you tell us?
I have been told that money from Washington for vet care is allocated to the state or region based on the number of vets registered at VA facilities, regardless whether they are seeking treatment or not. I was told this by a VFW service officer who has been signing vets up just for the above stated reason. In addition if you are already in the system and some health issues raise their ugly head, you are a step ahead as compared if you had waited.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
I have been told that money from Washington for vet care is allocated to the state or region based on the number of vets registered at VA facilities, regardless whether they are seeking treatment or not. I was told this by a VFW service officer who has been signing vets up just for the above stated reason. In addition if you are already in the system and some health issues raise their ugly head, you are a step ahead as compared if you had waited.
That's my understanding as well. I go in to my local VA clinic for an annual visit just for appearances. I once told my doc that I felt a bit sheepish at taking their time, but she said their budget is based on the number of registered patients, so they're always happy to see me.

Having me on their books means only a 20 minute appointment once a year, and I know they are there for me if I need them.

I did take advantage of the VA system about five years ago. They made me the best pair of orthotics I've ever had (still using them). No hassles, no paperwork, no cost. My father also had superb care from the VA during his last few months.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
I have been told that money from Washington for vet care is allocated to the state or region based on the number of vets registered at VA facilities, regardless whether they are seeking treatment or not. I was told this by a VFW service officer who has been signing vets up just for the above stated reason. In addition if you are already in the system and some health issues raise their ugly head, you are a step ahead as compared if you had waited.
Yep. Retiring/separating servicemembers are admonished to check in with their local VA when they arrive at their chosen home, whether they intend to use the VA services or not.

It also helps the VA track you down to tell you about substances or operations that you may have been exposed to without your knowledge/consent.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
A recent news article indicated that the VA processes more than a million claims a year, and the current backlog is 558,000 claims (65% of pending claims). Their definition of "backlog" is that they have been on file more than 125 days without a decision.

New steps announced to reduce VA claims backlog

Typical response seems to be about 2 years to get a denial of an initial claim, then another 2 years for an appeal.

Anyone who is truly affected by this would be wise to get help. Veterans' organizations like the Disabled American Veterans and others have dedicated employees who can help expedite the process.
I recently saw a news report (don't recall where) that showed the VA's disability records are mostly paper files. They showed one (claim) about 2 yrs old that was more than a foot thick. They are continuing to convert to computer files but it is going to take some time.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:02 AM   #14
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I recently saw a news report (don't recall where) that showed the VA's disability records are mostly paper files. They showed one (claim) about 2 yrs old that was more than a foot thick. They are continuing to convert to computer files but it is going to take some time.
They're getting help from the DoD. And if they get really desperate, then the IRS is standing by...
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