Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide used by the U.S. military from 1962 to 1975, named for the orange band around the storage drum. The military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other tactical herbicides on trees and vegetation during the Vietnam War. Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange include Veterans who were in Vietnam, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, on Thai Air Force bases, and who flew on or worked on C-123 Aircraft. Several decades later, concerns about health effects from these chemicals, including dioxin, a byproduct of Agent Orange production, continue.
The Veterans Administration (VA) offers eligible Veterans a free Agent Orange Registry health exam for possible long-term health problems related to exposure. VA also offers health care, disability compensation, and other benefits to eligible Veterans for certain disease conditions, as well as benefits for children of Vietnam Veterans who have spina-bifida. Dependents and survivors may also be eligible for other benefits.
Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation if they have a disability related to Agent Orange exposure during service and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. The following link will download a Word Document that provides a list of those Navy units that may have been exposed to Agent Orange:
A list of various medical conditions, which the US Government assumes could have been caused by Agent Orange are provided in the following link:
If you can determine that you were exposed to Agent Orange and have been affected by one of the listed medical conditions, you may want to consider applying with the VA for disability compensation or medical coverage as appropriate.
VA Submission Best Practices
- Get help from a well-qualified Veteran Service Officer. They may be State employees or come from a number of Veteran groups like VFW, American Legion, AmVets, etc.
- You may want or need to get legal assistance, as necessary.
- Gather medical records from service and civilian providers. Common areas qualifying for VA benefits include Agent Orange related illnesses, hypertension, hearing loss, etc. See "Veteran's Diseases Associated with Agent Orange" above.
- New Agent Orange illnesses may be covered soon. It is a changing environment. See this Miltary News" article.
- If you can get letters from VA medical supporting your claims that will help.
- In Chicago, they have an Assessment Center that will work with you to identify all potential areas for claims. Avail yourselves of that help.
- Your VA Agent Orange Medical Assessment should be free. Again, your local VA resources can really help here to let you know what is available locally.
How to Apply
- Apply online using eBenefits, or
- Work with an accredited representative or agent, or
- Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your Regional VA Benefit Office on this locater page
For more information on how to apply and making sure your claim is ready to be processed, visit the VA How to Apply page.
Additional Resources for Help with Submitting Claims
The Veterans Law Blog has great information. Their site is “Leading Veterans through the Fog of VA Claims”.
Updated: March 09, 2018
Curator: Ed Moore