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UC-123 aircraft on Operation Ranch Hand spray mission (USAF photo)    (USAF photo)

UC-123 aircraft on Operation Ranch Hand spray mission (USAF photos)

-------PHOTO GALLERY-------

Ranch Hand Association Vietnam Collection, Item No. VAS007239;UC-123B's inbound to a FAC's mark    Patches early in the Ranch Hand program when it was still a C-123B. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The United States Begins Use of Defoliants Jan. 12, 1962


   Members of Ranch Hand in 1964/1965, at a time when the program had only four C-123s. The aircraft on the right is the museum’s Patches. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Ranch Hand UC-123 clearing a roadside in central South Vietnam in 1966. Note the aircraft’s very low altitude. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Members of Ranch Hand in 1964/1965, at a time when the program had only four C-123s. The aircraft on the right is the museum’s Patches. (U.S. Air Force photo)


The Pink Rose Test Program

Pink Rose...During the Pink Rose test program target areas near Tay Ninh and An Loc, Vietnam were sprayed with defoliation agents twice and with a drying agent once. Ten flights of three B-52s each dropped 42 M-35 incendiary incendiary cluster bombs, per aircraft, into the target area setting fires that burned the heavy growth as well as enemy fortifications hidden there. Sweeping over the tree-tops this C-123 Ranch Hand aircraft sprays defoliant over the target area., 01/1967


Agent Orange: One veteran’s story
By Carolyn Ballou, California Department of Veterans Affairs

Carolyn Ballou

U.S. Air Force veteran George Chappell loved classic cars.  In fact, he owned a ’36 Olds and ’67 Chevy, which he occasionally entered into competition. As a surprise for his 59th birthday in 2006, his wife, Sue, gave him a beautiful, new, last-year-of-production GTO.

George and Sue loved going to classic car shows together—especially Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada—in their limited-edition, desert orange corvette, another car he occasionally showed. They also shared a love of George’s children, his grandchildren, their three rescued dogs, ‘50s and ‘60s music, and art. George was quite an accomplished artist! He also belonged to a model car club and built models with his sons. His perfectly-crafted models won many awards through the years and were sometimes featured in model car magazines.

Life was good for George and Sue, and they were looking forward to traveling together during their quickly approaching retirements.

George was just 19 when he enlisted in the Air Force. He began basic training in 1966 and became a Fuels Specialist who could work on nearly any kind of aircraft. Deployed to Phu Cat, Vietnam, George loved working on and flying the C7A Caribous the best. They were large, lumbering transport planes that had excellent maneuverability at low altitude and slow airspeed and could make accurate drops into small places. He worked on other planes as well—many of which were used to drop millions of gallons of Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide mixture used to defoliate the jungles and expose enemy hiding places between 1962 and 1971. George had heard about the dangers of Agent Orange exposure but, like so many his age, he felt immune and immortal.

George Chappell

In 1970, for having distinguished himself “by meritorious achievement and service,” George was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Medal. Unfortunately, the Air Force failed to list his medals on his discharge papers. Years later, George filed the necessary paperwork to ensure the honors of which he was so proud were appropriately documented.

According to Sue, and according to most anyone who knew or worked with George, he was very patriotic and incredibly proud of his country. He had little patience for those who were not. He talked frequently and nostalgically about his time in the Air Force with anyone who would listen. “A lot of pilots couldn’t hold a candle to the Air Force guys who had to land their planes near the unlit rice paddies of Vietnam,” George would often boast. Once, George had to repair a plane that had crashed and then fly it back to the base at Phu Cat. He was very proud of that. “I’d go back into the Air Force right now if I could,” he frequently told Sue over the years.

At age 60, George began to suffer from recurrent high fevers. Sometimes he complained of feeling hot even though his body temperature read as normal. His doctors would tell him they couldn’t find anything wrong or tell him he likely had a passing virus. At one point, George complained that his arms and legs hurt and he found himself unable to walk. “Paramedics who were called to our home were unable to get an accurate temperature reading on him because their thermometer didn’t go that high,” Sue said. Emergency room doctors who examined George said he had the flu. They ordered fluids and antibiotics.

George had further testing, including multiple blood samples, a spinal tap and an MRI. Doctors discovered that all the lymph nodes in George’s body from his neck to his knees were swollen. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—a cancer of the immune system. Later, more extensive testing revealed that George was suffering from Stage 4 mantel cell lymphoma, a cancer so rare that it had been diagnosed in only about 1,400 people worldwide. George got his diagnosis 40 years to the month after he entered basic training. After some time, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors conceded that George’s cancer was associated with his exposure to Agent Orange while he was in Vietnam decades before.

The majority of George’s care was handled by two top-notch female research doctors at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. His care was supervised by his no-nonsense, get-him-what-he-needs-NOW wife. George was shuttled back and forth between Stanford Hospital, local Mercy Hospitals, and home while he endured countless lab tests, 15 blood transfusions, and months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. At first, George tolerated and responded well to treatment. As time went on, that changed.

Sue organized multiple bone marrow drives on George’s behalf but, because of his rare A-Negative blood type, finding a match proved difficult. Sadly, treatment was successful in George’s cancer remission for only very short periods of time, never long enough to take advantage of a bone marrow transplant.

After a valiant fight on everyone’s part, George Donald Chappell, 63, succumbed to his disease fewer than 18 months after he was first diagnosed. He left behind his loving wife and best friend, Sue, his three children, his brother and sister, his two grandchildren, his classic cars, his beautiful art work, his three rescue dogs, and a legacy of proud and honorable service, unmitigated sacrifice, and unyielding pride in his country.

“George’s DD214 was corrected to include his Air Force Commendation Medal,” Sue said, “but he became too ill to respond to the Air Force’s request for additional documentation, and he died before getting his Air Medal listed.”

The VA presumes that 14 different diseases and disorders are related to Agent Orange exposure when diagnosed in “boots-on-the-ground” veterans and certain other veterans groups. Unlike George, who suffered from a very rare form of cancer, other Agent Orange-related diseases and disorders may be cured or successfully managed if diagnosed and treated early.

If you are a Vietnam era veteran who served in country, even for a day, between 1962 and 1971, go to www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/index.asp to learn about your Agent Orange risk, the diseases and disorders associated with exposure, and the disease symptoms you should watch for.

Contact the veterans affairs department in your state to find out about the education, employment, healthcare, compensation and pension, and other benefits you may be entitled to. To find the department in your state, go to www.va.gov/statedva.htm.

Note:  This article was given a 2013 AWARD OF EXCELLENCE by the California Association of Public Information Officers and a 2013 GOLD AWARD the California State Information Officers Council earlier this year.


The National Archives

Download this film.

Click here to view this digital copy.

VNAF UH-34D DEFOLIATION MISSIONS, DA NANG AB AND HUE, VIETNAM, 06/15/1964 - 06/20/1964 ARC Identifier 69376 / Local Identifier 342-USAF-38641 Item from Record Group 342: Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, 1900 - 2003.


-------Agent Orange Review-------

Republished from Dept. of Veteran Affairs Public Health Link

Vol. 26, No.1 Winter 2012

Download full issue. (482 KB, PDF)

VA expanded the dates of presumed Agent Orange exposure along the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) to April 1, 1968 - August 31, 1971. This simplifies and speeds the benefit application process for Veterans of the Korean DMZ.

Defoliated Korean DMZ, 1968

Other Features in this Issue

  • Check VA’s “Ships List”

  • VA Studies High Blood Pressure, Chronic Lung Disease Among Vietnam Veterans

  • Agent Orange Registry Health Evaluation

  • New Hotline for Homeless Veterans

  • Service in Camp Lejeune?

  • Understanding Heart Disease and How to Reduce Your Risk

  • “Million Veteran Program” Seeks Volunteers

  • Agent Orange Registry Statistics

The Agent Orange Review is produced by VA's Post-Deployment Health group.


Facts about Herbicides

Agent Orange is a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1962 to 1971 during Operation Ranch Hand in the Vietnam War to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover.

More than 19 million gallons of various “rainbow” herbicide combinations were sprayed, but Agent Orange was the combination the U.S. military used most often. The name “Agent Orange” came from the orange identifying stripe used on the 55-gallon drums in which it was stored.

Herbicide-sprayed areas and

Heavy sprayed areas included forests near the demarcation zone, forests at the junction of the borders of Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam, and mangroves on the southernmost peninsula of Vietnam and along shipping channels southeast of Saigon.

The U.S. Department of Defense developed these tactical herbicides specifically to be used in “combat operations.” They were not commercial grade herbicides purchased from chemical companies and sent to Vietnam. Tactical herbicides also were used, tested, and stored in areas outside of Vietnam.

Learn how Veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during military service, including outside Vietnam.

Agent Orange active ingredients and characteristics

The two active ingredients in the Agent Orange herbicide combination were equal amounts of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), which contained traces of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).

The dioxin TCDD was an unwanted byproduct of herbicide production. Dioxins are pollutants that are released into the environment by burning waste, diesel exhaust, chemical manufacturing, and other processes. TCDD is the most toxic of the dioxins, and is classified as a human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Agent Orange dries quickly after spraying and breaks down within hours to days when exposed to sunlight (if not bound chemically to a biological surface such as soil, leaves and grass) and is no longer harmful.

For more information on TCDD, read the fact sheet on chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (63 KB, PDF) from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease.


Veterans' Diseases Associated with Agent Orange

VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran’s qualifying military service. We call these "presumptive diseases."

VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for disability compensation or survivors' benefits for these diseases.

  • AL Amyloidosis
    A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs

  • Chronic B-cell Leukemias
    A type of cancer which affects white blood cells

  • Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
    A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.

  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
    A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin

  • Hodgkin’s Disease
    A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia

  • Ischemic Heart Disease
    A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain

  • Multiple Myeloma
    A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue

  • Parkinson’s Disease
    A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement

  • Peripheral Neuropathy, Acute and Subacute
    A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Currently, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure and resolve within two years. VA proposed on Aug. 10, 2012, to replace "acute and subacute" with "early-onset" and eliminate the requirement that symptoms resolve within two years.

  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
    A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.

  • Prostate Cancer
    Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men

  • Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
    Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus

  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
    A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues

Children with Birth Defects: VA presumes certain birth defects in children of Vietnam and Korea Veterans associated with Veterans' qualifying military service.

Veterans with Lou Gehrig's Disease: VA presumes Lou Gehrig's Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure.


Birth Defects in Children of Vietnam and Korea Veterans

VA has recognized that certain birth defects among Veterans' children are associated with Veterans' qualifying service in Vietnam or Korea.

The affected child must have been conceived after the Veteran entered Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone during the qualifying service period.

VA benefits

Children with spina bifida or covered birth defects who are biological children of Veterans with qualifying service may be eligible for compensation, health care and vocational training. Learn more about benefits for Veterans’ children with birth defects.


Benefits Overview for Agent Orange Exposure

VA offers health registry exams, health care, disability compensation and other benefits to eligible Veterans. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.

Veterans' benefits

Vietnam Veterans and other U.S. Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service may be eligible for:

  • Agent Orange Registry health exam, a free exam for possible long-term health problems related to herbicide exposure. Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone or other areas where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible.

  • Health care benefits, a full range of medical benefits. There are many ways a Veteran may qualify.

  • Disability compensation, monthly payment for diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure during military service. Veterans with qualifying service in Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. Other Veterans may be eligible if they show on a factual basis that they were exposed.

Veterans also may be eligible for other VA programs and services, including education, home loans, and vocational rehabilitation. Read Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors to learn more.

Dependents' benefits

Children who have certain birth defects and are biological children of Vietnam-era Veterans with qualifying service in Vietnam or Korea may be eligible for VA compensation, health care, and vocational training. Learn more about benefits for children with birth defects.

Spouses and dependent children of living Veterans also may be eligible for health care and other VA benefits. Read Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors to learn more.

Survivors' benefits

Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service and died as the result of diseases related to the exposure may be eligible for survivors' benefits.


Disability Compensation for Agent Orange Diseases

Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation (a monthly monetary allowance) for injuries or diseases related to active military service. We call these disabilities "service-related" or "service-connected."

Eligibility based on Vietnam or Korea service

For the purposes of disability compensation, VA presumes that Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides if they served:

Two male soldiers wading through water in Vietnam

These Veterans do not need to prove that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides to qualify for disability compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure (also called "presumptive diseases").

A Veteran who believes he or she has a disease caused by herbicide exposure, but it is not a presumptive disease, must show an actual connection between the disease and herbicide exposure during military service.

Eligibility for Veterans outside of Vietnam or Korea

Veterans who do not meet the criteria for presumed exposure to Agent Orange may be eligible for service-connection for related disabilities. This includes:

Aerial photo of ship in ocean

These Veterans must show that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service to be eligible for service-connection for presumptive diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.

Veterans who believe they have a disease caused by herbicide exposure, but it is not a presumptive disease, must show that:

  1. They were exposed to herbicides during military service.

  2. There is an actual connection between the disease and herbicide exposure during military service.

Exception: Blue Water Veterans with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma may be granted service-connection without showing inland waterway service or that they set foot in Vietnam. This is because VA also recognizes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as related to service in Vietnam or the waters offshore of Vietnam during the Vietnam Era.

Check VA's Guide to Agent Orange Claims to learn more about how to establish eligibility to disability compensation and how much VA pays.


How to Apply

You may apply for disability compensation online.

Vietnam Veterans with chronic b-cell leukemias, Hodgkin’s disease, ischemic heart disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, or prostate cancer may apply for disability compensation for these diseases using VA’s Fast Track Claims Processing System.

After VA receives your application, we’ll send you a letter that explains what evidence we need in order to grant your claim. We will help you get records to support your claim, including records of Vietnam service or exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Learn more about the disability claims process.


Exposure to Agent Orange by Location

Part of the United States' strategy in Vietnam was to conduct an herbicide program to remove foliage providing cover for the enemy. Agent Orange was the most widely used of the herbicide combinations sprayed.

Helicopter spraying herbicides

Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were tested or stored elsewhere, including some military bases in the United States.


Click For More Information On Agent Orange



Barry Krupkin

Dr. Barry Allen Krupkin, Supreme Commander, Founder Emeritus
1969 Bong Song Notice The Nice Chemical Drums

Recognizing Those Who Contributed So Much For The Cause

The great struggle to recognize, and compensate veteran exposure to Agent Orange is a long, difficult, heroic, and mostly untold story. Those brave souls who were willing to risk everything fighting the good fight have never been properly acknowledged, and thanked.

The editors of "The Veterans Hour" would like to take this opportunity to mention a few.

Our founder Gary Thomas took a look back recently at some of the many he worked with and for in this cause many years ago.

 "I want to express my heart felt thanks and admiration to those named here and the many others around the country that fought so hard in this movement against the very powerful forces opposing us. May God Bless you and your families for your sacrifices, and achievements. From coast to coast I was very fortunate and forever grateful to meet and work with you, my brothers!"

  • Roy Benavidez
  • Jack Bailey
  • Thomas J. Burch
  • David Carter
  • Alan Cranston
  • Tom Daschle
  • Tony Diamond
  • Dan Jordan
  • Barry Krupkin
  • Bobby Muller
  • Benton Musslewhite
  • Al Reynolds
  • Glen Sinclair
  • Wendy Watress

Environmental Issues and Hazards

SOURCE: VA Website

Published 06/04/2007 03:39 PM   |    Updated 01/07/2011 09:15 AM

What programs exist at VA that pertain to environmental issues and hazards?

The Environmental Agents Service (EAS) administers health care programs related to environmental issues, including Operations Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF), Gulf War, Agent Orange, depleted uranium, ionizing radiation, and Project 112 (Including Project SHAD). EAS also oversees the War-Related Illness And Injury Study Centers (WRIISCs). Organizationally, EAS falls under the the Occupational and Environmental Health Strategic Health Care Group of the Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards.

PROGRAMS include:

Project 112 (Including Project SHAD)
War-Related Illness And Injury Study Centers (WRIISCs)

Go to http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/

What is Agent Orange?   |  Agent Orange Photo  |  The 15 Herbicides Used in Vietnam  |  List of Presumptive Diseases  |  News Items  |  Spina Bifida Information  |  Agent Orange Links  |  Fact Sheet on Vietnam Veterans  |  Map of Vietnam Sprayed Areas  |

Agent Orange Overview.  Approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides were used in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971 to remove unwanted plant life and leaves which otherwise provided cover for enemy forces during the Vietnam Conflict.  

Shortly following their military service in Vietnam, some veterans reported a variety of health problems and concerns which some of them attributed to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a comprehensive program to respond to these medical problems and concerns.  The principal elements of this program include quality healthcare services, disability compensation for veterans with service-connected illnesses, scientific research and outreach and education. Source: VA

VA officials publish final regulation to aid veterans exposed to Agent Orange

8/30/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam and other areas will have easier access to quality health care and will qualify for disability compensation under a final regulation that will be published Aug. 31 in the Federal Register by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The new rule expands the list of health problems VA officials will presume to be related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures to add two new conditions and expand one existing category of conditions.

"Last October, based on the requirements of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 and the Institute of Medicine's 2008 Update on Agent Orange, I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to award presumptions of service connection for these three additional diseases," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "It was the right decision, and the president and I are proud to finally provide this group of veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved."

The final regulation follows Mr. Shinseki's determination to expand the list of conditions for which service connection for Vietnam Veterans is presumed. VA officials are adding Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease and expanding chronic lymphocytic leukemia to include all chronic B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia.

In practical terms, veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a "presumed" illness don't have to prove an association between their medical problems and their military service. By helping veterans overcome evidentiary requirements that might otherwise present significant challenges, this "presumption" simplifies and speeds up the application process and ensures that veterans receive the benefits they deserve.

Secretary Shinseki's decision to add these presumptives is based on the latest evidence provided in a 2008 independent study by the Institute of Medicine concerning health problems caused by herbicides like Agent Orange. Veterans who served in Vietnam anytime during the period beginning January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

More than 150,000 veterans are expected to submit Agent Orange claims in the next 12 to 18 months, many of whom are potentially eligible for retroactive disability payments based on past claims. Additionally, VA officials will review approximately 90,000 previously denied claims by Vietnam Veterans for service connection for these conditions. All those awarded service connection who are not currently eligible for enrollment into the VA health care system will become eligible.

This historic regulation is subject to provisions of the Congressional Review Act that require a 60-day Congressional review period before implementation. After the review period, VA officials can begin paying benefits for new claims and may award benefits retroactively for earlier periods.

For new claims, VA officials may pay benefits retroactive to the effective date of the regulation or up to one year before the date they receive the application, whichever is later. For pending claims and claims that were previously denied, VA officials may pay benefits retroactive to the date they received the claim.

VA officials encourage Vietnam veterans with these three diseases to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation now so the agency can begin development of their claims. Individuals can go to a website at www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/AO/claimherbicide.htm to learn how to file a claim and what evidence is needed to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits.

Additional information about Agent Orange and VA's services for Veterans exposed to the chemical is available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange.

The regulation is available on the Office of the Federal Register website at www.ofr.gov.

(Courtesy of the Veteran's Affairs News Service)


VA secretary seeks improved Agent Orange claims process

3/9/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Veterans Affairs officials announced March 9 an aggressive new initiative to solicit private-sector input on a proposed fast-track Veterans' claims process for service-connected presumptive illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.

"This will be a new way of doing business and a major step forward in how we process the presumptive claims we expect to receive over the next two years," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "With the latest, fastest and most reliable technology, VA hopes to migrate the manual processing of these claims to an automated process that meets the needs of today's veterans in a more timely manner."

Over the next two years, about 200,000 veterans are expected to file disability compensation claims under an historic expansion of three new presumptive illnesses announced last year by Secretary Shinseki. They affect veterans who have Parkinson's disease, ischemic heart disease or B-cell leukemias.

In practical terms, veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have one of the illnesses covered by the "presumption of service connection" don't have to prove an association between their medical problems and military service. This "presumption" makes it easier for Vietnam veterans to access disability compensation benefits. Vietnam veterans are encouraged to submit their claims as soon as possible to begin the important process of compensation.

Along with the publication of proposed regulations for the three new presumptives this spring, VA officials intend to publish a formal request in Federal Business Opportunities for private-sector corporations to propose automated solutions for the parts of the claims process that take the longest amount of time. They believe these can be collected in a more streamlined and accurate way.

Development involves determining what additional information is needed to adjudicate the claim, such as military and private medical records and the scheduling of medical examinations.

With this new approach, VA officials expect to shorten the time it takes to gather evidence, which now takes on average more than 90 days. Once the claim is fully developed and all pertinent information is gathered, they will be able to more quickly decide the claim and process the award, if granted.

The contract is expected to be awarded in April with proposed solutions offered to VA officials within 90 days. Implementation of the solution is expected within 150 days.

"Veterans whose health was harmed during their military service are entitled to the best this nation has to offer," Secretary Shinseki said. "We are undertaking an unprecedented modernization of our claims process to ensure timely and accurate delivery of that commitment."

Last year, VA officials received more than one million claims for disability compensation and pension. They provide compensation and pension benefits to more than 3.8 million veterans and beneficiaries. Presently, the basic monthly rate of compensation ranges from $123 to $2,673 to veterans without any dependents.

Disability compensation is a non-taxable, monthly monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.

For more information about disability compensation, go to www.va.gov.  Additional information about Agent Orange and VA's services and programs for Veterans exposed are available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange.


VA’s Guide on Agent Orange Claims

What is Agent Orange?

Agent Orange was one of the weed-killing chemicals used by the U.S. military in the Vietnam War. It was sprayed to remove leaves from trees that enemy troops hid behind. Agent Orange and similar chemicals were known as “herbicides.” Agent Orange was applied by airplanes, helicopters, trucks and backpack sprayers. In the 1970’s some veterans became concerned that exposure to Agent Orange might cause delayed health effects. One of the chemicals in Agent Orange contained small amounts of dioxin (also known as “TCDD”), which had been found to cause a variety of illnesses in laboratory animals. More recent studies have suggested that dioxin may be related to several types of cancer and other disorders. Source VA

Article by: Denise A. and Kelly M. Titled Agent Orange

Agent Orange is a code name for a herbicide developed for the U.S. military. It was named for the orange band that was used to mark the drums it was stored in. Made of a 50-50 mix of the chemicals 2, 4, D and 2, 4, 5T and with kerosene or diesel fuel. The primary use was to be in tropical climates, as it was extremely effective against broad-leaf foliage, such as the dense jungle terrain found in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia. Source: Article by: Denise A. and Kelly M. Titled Agent Orange......

NOTE: Effective Jan. 31st. 2002 the 30 year limitation on the period during which respiratory cancers must become manifest for service connection (and disability compensation) to be granted on a presumptive basis, has been eliminated. VNHD

The Fifteen Herbicides Used in Vietnam

PURPLE: A formulation of 2,4,-D and 2,4,5,-T used between 1962 and 1964.
GREEN: Contained 2,4,5-T and was used 1962-1964.
PINK: Contained 2,4,5-T and was used 1962-1964.
ORANGE: A formulation of 2,4,-D and 2,4,5-T used between 1965 and 1970.
WHITE: A formulation of Picloram and 2,4,-D.
BLUE: Contained cacodylic acid.
ORANGE II: A formualtion of 2,4,-D and 2,4,5-T used in 1968 & 1969
(sometimes referred as "Super Orange")

DINOXOL: A formulation of 2,4,-D and 2,4,,5-T.
Small quantities were tested in Vietnam between 1962 & 1964. 
Contained 2,4,5-T. Small quantities tested in Vietnam 1962-1964.

*Small quantities of all of the above were tested in Vietnam, 1962-1964.
*Source: Lewispublishing, Agent Orange Website.

Diseases Associated With Exposure to Agent Orange

These are the diseases which VA currently presumes resulted from exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange. The law requires that some of these diseases be at least 10% disabling under VA’s rating regulations within a deadline that began to run the day you left Vietnam. If there is a deadline, it is listed in parentheses after the name of the disease.

  • Chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne. (Must occur within one year of exposure to Agent Orange). 

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type II 

  • Hodgkin’s disease. 

  • Multiple myeloma. 

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

  • Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy. (For purposes of this section, the term acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy means temporary peripheral neuropathy that appears within weeks or months of exposure to an herbicide agent and resolves within two years of the date of onset.)

  • Porphyria cutanea tarda. (Must occur within one year of exposure to Agent Orange). 

  • Prostate cancer.

  • Respiratory cancers (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea). 

  • Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma).


What if I served in Vietnam and Have a Disease Not on VA'S List?

If you served in Vietnam and believe that you have a disease caused by herbicide exposure, but that disease is not on VA'S list of diseases associated with herbicides like Agent Orange, you may still apply for service-connection. Such a veteran needs to establish entitlement to service connection on a "direct" (rather than "presumptive") basis. In these cases, VA requires:

1)   competent medical evidence of a current disability;
2)   competent evidence of exposure to a herbicide in Vietnam; and
3)   competent medical evidence of a nexus (casual relationship) between the herbicide exposure and the current disability.

For more Q/A about Agent Orange access:

----------NEWS ITEMS----------

VA Recognizes Agent Orange Link to More Diseases

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2009 – Based on an independent study by the Institute of Medicine last month, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has directed broader health coverage from his department for Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

Research found that three illnesses – B cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease -- possibly are associated with Agent Orange exposure. Those conditions join a list of related diseases for which Vietnam War veterans already receive compensation, such as prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, soft-tissue sarcomas, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

"Since my confirmation as secretary, I've often asked why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, we're still trying to determine the health consequences to our veterans who served in the combat theater," Shinseki said in a statement provided by VA today to American Forces Press Service. "Veterans who endure a host of health problems deserve timely decisions."

Veterans who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 may qualify for monthly disability compensation and do not have to provide proof they were exposed to Agent Orange to qualify for health benefits.

“We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service, and we will,” Shinseki said in statement released last month. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.”

The U.S. military used Agent Orange herbicides in the Vietnam conflict from 1961 to 1971 to clear foliage that provided enemy cover. VA officials estimate that about 2.6 million military personnel who served in Vietnam were affected.

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, released a statement today calling for additional support of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009. The bill expands eligibility for presumptive conditions to veterans who were not directly “boots on the ground,” such as sailors and pilots. Current law suggests that location of service in Vietnam affects some of the qualifications for Agent Orange compensation.

“Time is running out for these Vietnam veterans,” Filner said. “Many are dying from their Agent Orange-related diseases, uncompensated for their sacrifice. If, as a result of service, a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange, and it has resulted in failing health, this country has a moral obligation to care for each veteran the way we promised we would.”

About 800,000 Vietnam veterans are estimated to be alive today and eligible for treatment for Agent Orange-related illnesses. According to VA’s Web site, the department presumes all military members who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange. Also, some children of female Vietnam veterans may qualify for compensation, based on birth defects associated with the chemicals.

Agent Orange Equity Act Press Conference, Wednesday, July 23
VA and Courts Ignore Promises Made to Veterans: CONGRESS MUST ACT

July 18, 2008

Washington, D.C. – Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, July 23 at NOON on the Cannon Terrace to announce the introduction of the Agent Orange Equity Act. The bill restores equity to all Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange.

Chairman Bob Filner, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
William G. Jeff Davis, Blue Water Veteran
Ron Abrams, Executive Director, National Veterans Legal Services Program
John Rowan, Vietnam Veterans of America

Introduction of the Agent Orange Equity Act, a bill to ensure that veterans receive their earned benefits

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at Noon
(Staging begins at 11:30 a.m. in Cannon Room 334)

Cannon House Office Building Terrace
The intersection of New Jersey and Independence Avenues, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20515

"We owe it to our veterans to fulfill the promises made to them as a result of their service," said Chairman Filner (D-CA). "If, as a result of service, a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange and it has resulted in failing health, this country has a moral obligation to care for each veteran the way we promised we would. And as a country at war, we must prove that we will be there for all of our veterans, no matter when they serve. The courts have turned their backs on our veterans, but I believe this Congress will not allow our veterans to be cheated of their earned benefits."

The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 would clarify the laws related to VA benefits provided to Vietnam War veterans suffering from the ravages of Agent Orange exposure. In order to try to gain a better military vantage point, Agent Orange, which we now know is a highly toxic cocktail of herbicide agents, was widely sprayed for defoliation and crop destruction purposes all over the Vietnam War Battlefield, as well as nearby nations. It was also stored on U.S. vessels and used for vegetation clearing purposes around U.S. bases, landing zones and lines of communication.

Currently, VA requires Vietnam veterans to prove "foot on land" in order to qualify for the presumptions of service-connection for herbicide-exposure related illnesses afforded under current law. This issue has been the subject of much litigation and on May 8, 2008, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld VA’s overly narrow interpretation. Congress clearly did not intend to exclude these veterans from compensation based on arbitrary geographic line drawing by VA.

The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 is intended to clarify the law so that every service member awarded the Vietnam Service medal, or who otherwise deployed to land, sea or air, in the Republic of Vietnam is fully covered by the comprehensive Agent Orange laws Congress passed in 1991. If enacted, this bill will make it easier for VA to process Vietnam War veterans’ claims for service-connected conditions that scientists have conclusively linked to toxic exposures during the Vietnam War and that are identified in current law. With this legislation, Congress will leave no doubt that the "Blue Water Navy" and all combat veterans of Vietnam are intended to be covered and compensated; thus ensuring that these veterans will receive the disability benefits they earned and deserve for exposure to Agent Orange.


Department Of Veterans Affairs
Effective Dates of Benefits for Disability or Death Caused By Herbicide)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is adding a new provision to disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) regulations. The new rule will allow certain disability claims associated with herbicide exposure to be awarded even if the same claims had been previously denied. Benefits awarded will be retroactive to the date of the claim or the date of the previously denied claim. The new rule also provides that VA may pay to certain survivors of a deceased beneficiary, or to the beneficiary's estate, any amounts the beneficiary was entitled to receive under the effective-date provisions of this rule, but which were not paid prior to the beneficiary's death. The purpose of this rule is to reflect the requirements of court orders in a class-action case.

Daschle Legislation Leads to this Expansion of Benefits

Senator Daschle Applauds VA Decision to Compensate
Vietnam Veterans Suffering from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia .

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Daschle today applauded the decision by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi to extend benefits to Vietnam veterans suffering from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). CLL is a cancer of the lymphatic system that often progresses slowly.

The VA made its decision today after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its biennial report to the Secretary regarding Agent Orange-related diseases and conditions. The IOM literature shows _sufficient evidence of an association between CLL and exposure to toxic herbicides in Vietnam._ Legislation sponsored by Senator Daschle in 1991 created the process that allowed for this update.

 Throughout my career, I have fought to ensure that Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange get the treatment and compensation they deserve, said Senator Daschle. _America owes its veterans a tremendous debt, and I am committed to seeing that the federal government meets its obligations.

From 1962 to 1971, U.S. military forces sprayed herbicides over Vietnam to strip the thick jungle canopy that helped conceal opposition forces, to destroy crops that enemy forces might depend on, and to clear tall grasses and bushes from the perimeters of U.S. base camps and outlying fire-support bases. The herbicide mixtures used were named according to the color of an identification band painted on the storage drums; one of the main chemical mixtures sprayed was Agent Orange.

 Daschle, a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran, has been a long-time advocate for veterans and families dealing with the health effects of Agent Orange exposure.  In his first year in Congress, 1979, Daschle helped win passage of the Veterans Health Programs Extension and Improvement Act, which required the VA to conduct an epidemiological study of the long-term health effects of veterans_ exposures to Agent Orange. 

Over the next 11 years, he and others won passage of legislation providing a health care entitlement to veterans exposed to Agent Orange and to expand the scope of the Agent Orange study. Daschle’s landmark accomplishment came when Congress finally passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the first comprehensive law to address the problems of veterans exposed to Agent Orange.  The act allows veterans to receive disability compensation for diseases shown to be associated

with their exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides and also requires a biennial review of new dioxin and other relevant research, with mechanisms for updating VA disability compensation eligibility guidelines.

Daschle said today’s decision means that Vietnam veterans with CLL will qualify for disability compensation of approximately $2,300 per month and will not have to pay copayments for treatments for CLL. They will also have improved access to VA health services.

Related Story:  VA To Grant Benefits To More Vietnam Veterans - WASHINGTON – Based upon a recently released review of scientific studies, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi has decided to extend benefits to Vietnam veterans with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). (1/23/03)


Spina Bifida Healthcare

The Following Re-published From:  The VA Spina Bifida Web Site.
Please access the VA for complete information and downloadable forms.

Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Health Adm. Center
Spina Bifida Healthcare


In addition to monetary allowances, vocational training and rehabilitation, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also provides VA-financed healthcare benefits to Vietnam veterans' birth children diagnosed with spina bifida. For the purpose of this program, spina bifida is defined as all forms or manifestations of spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta), including complications or associated medical conditions related to spina bifida.

Healthcare benefits available under this program are limited to those necessary for the treatment of spina bifida and related medical conditions. Beneficiaries should be aware that this program is not a comprehensive healthcare plan and does not cover medical services unrelated to spina bifida.

While administration of the program is centralized to VA's Health Administration Center (HAC) in Denver, Colorado, applications must first be made through the Denver VA regional office. Contact the Denver regional office by calling 1-888-820-11756. Once the Denver VA regional office determines eligibility, spina bifida awardees (or guardians) are automatically contacted by the Health Administration Center and registered for healthcare benefits. Beneficiaries receive detailed program material from HAC specifically addressing covered and noncovered services and supplies, preauthorization requirements, and claim filing instructions.

Once registered, the HAC assumes responsibility for all aspects of the spina bifida healthcare program, including the authorization of benefits and the subsequent processing and payment of claims.

Spina Bifida Healthcare Program (01-6)
Spina Bifida What Conditions Need Support Documentation (01-13)


In general, the program covers most healthcare services and supplies that are medically or psychologically necessary for the treatment of conditions related to spina bifida. While some services require specific advance approval or preauthorization, the following services are specifically excluded from coverage

  • care unrelated to spina bifida 

  • care as part of a grant study or research program 

  • care considered experimental or investigational 

  • drugs not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial marketing 

  • services, procedures or supplies for which the beneficiary has no legal obligation to pay, such as 

  • services obtained at a health fair services provided outside the scope of the provider's license or certification 

  • services rendered by providers suspended or sanctioned by a federal agency


Eligibility/Application Information 1-800-820-1756
Healthcare Benefits Information/Registration
By phone 1-888-820-1756
Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM and 2:30 to 4:30 PM Eastern
By fax 1-303-331-7807
By mail VA Health Administration Center Spina Bifida Healthcare Benefits PO Box 65025 Denver, CO 80206-9025 -- By email: spina.inq@med.va.gov

Agent Orange Meeting, Wash. D.C.    v2ta094.jpg (21195 bytes)

(News & Information Links)

Vietnam Veterans now have a new national toll-free helpline to answer their questions about Agent Orange exposure, health care and benefits..... (Mar. 9, 2001) Click Here

VA has developed a specific Agent Orange Web Page in conjunction with the helpline.  It can be accessed at www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/herbicide.

VA To Create Benefits for Some Childhood Leukemia Victims -- April 20, 2001 -- Washington -- Hours after receiving a study that linked Agent Orange to a deadly form of childhood leukemia, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to begin setting up benefits for these children. Click here to read full press release

Vietnamese and U.S. officials have agreed for the first time to study the possible effects of Agent Orange. Click on CNN World to read this article.


V.A. News Release: Nov. 9th, 2000 Washington D.C.

Vietnam Veterans with Type II Diabetes will now be eligible for disability compensation from the department of Veteran Affairs based on their presumed exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides. Acting Secretary Hershel W. Goober announced today his decision to add Diabetes to the list of presumptive diseases associated with herbicide exposure. Full Story Access: V.A.Website

Benefits Approved for Children of
Women Vietnam Veterans with Certain Birth Defects

This legislation will provide monthly disability allowances, vocational training, and health care to women Vietnam veterans' children born with certain medical conditions. "These women veterans made huge sacrifices to protect our freedom, and it is only just that their children with resulting medical conditions be compensated," commented President Clinton the day of the bill signing. "Similar benefits are currently afforded to such children who were born with spina bifida, but this Act will expand benefits beyond that one condition."

Korea Agent Orange Exams

If you Served in Korea's DMZ in 1968-1969 you may receive a free VA medical exam to test for exposure to Agent Orange sprayed by the South Korean Army. This will not entitle you to any compensation for illness related to chemical defoliant exposure however. You may be listed on the Agent Orange Registry and have your health conditioned tracked in research database. A VA newsletter will be sent out to you with any further updates. This Sept. 5th Directive from the VA can be Accessed by going to the VA Website.

Correction : From Department of Veterans Affairs; On page 14 of Agent Orange Review: The article on Korean Veterans may have erroneously indicated that veterans exposed to herbicides outside Vietnam are not entitled to any presumptions. Of course as was stated on pages 11-12, this is not the case.

If it is determined that a veteran was exposed outside Vietnam during his or her military service to a chemical contained in one of the herbicides used in Vietnam, and he or she has a disease on VA'S presumptive list, it will be presumed to be service connected. We apologize for any confusion. VA


For VA benefits, two dates are used for the “Vietnam era:” 1

t        Feb. 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in Vietnam

t        Aug. 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975, for all other veterans

Vietnam Veterans

l        9.2 million served on active duty (Aug. 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975) 2

l        2,590,000 served in the combat zone 7

l        109,000 died in service 2

l        58,184 died in the combat zone or from combat wounds 4

l        8,113,000 are still alive 2

Vietnam Vets and VA Health Care 3

l  125,275 vets were hospitalized 206,763 times in VA facilities last year

l  989,833 vets visited VA clinics 12,704,963 times last year

l  991, 672 vets received some VA health care last year

Vietnam Vets and VA benefits 5

l  737,397 vets received disability compensation in February

l  112,207 family members of dead vets receive survivors benefits

l  102,088 vets received VA pensions for non-service disabilities

Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange 6

            l  297,194 vets took exams under Agent Orange Registry since March 2000

            l  99,226 filed claims alleging Agent Orange affected their health

            l  7,520 receive VA disability compensation for Agent Orange-related causes


1.      38 U.S. Code, 101 (29).

2.      “America’s Wars,” Department of Veterans Affairs, August 1999.

3.      “Inpatients and Outpatients by Period of Service, FY 1999,” April 2000, Office of Program and Data Analyses VA.

4.      “U.S. Military Casualties in Southeast Asia,” March 31, 1997, Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Service, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports.  (http://web1.whs.osd.mil/mmid/casualty).

5.      “Active Compensation, Pension and Retirement Cases By Period of Service,” February 2000, Office of Program and Data Analyses, VA.

6.      “Agent Orange: Statistical Update,” March 2000, VA Office of Public Affairs, Media Relations Office (80-F).

7.      Pentagram, June 4, 1993

Agent Orange Review:

Agent Orange Benefits:




Toll-Free Agent Orange Helpline Established for Vietnam Veterans WASHINGTON -- Vietnam veterans now have a new national toll-free helpline to answer their questions about Agent Orange exposure, health care and benefits. The new helpline -- 1-800-749-8387 --is part of the continuing efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reach America's 2.3 million Vietnam veterans. Callers can speak directly to VA representatives Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Central Standard Time, or access a 24-hour automated system. 

They can leave voice mail messages to have information sent to them or listen to recordings about exposure to Agent Orange, VA benefits, health care and disability compensation.  "As scientific studies expand our understanding of the possible long-term health effects of Agent Orange spraying in Vietnam, VA is increasing its programs for affected veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi, himself a Vietnam veteran. 

"VA is committed to reaching out to these veterans and their families whenever and wherever possible to ensure they receive the health care and other benefits they deserve." VA expects considerable interest in the helpline because of a proposed policy that allows Vietnam veterans with adult-onset (Type II) diabetes to receive disability compensation for ongoing medical problems linked to Agent Orange or other herbicides during the war. VA now recognizes 10 medical conditions as being associated with Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a herbicide used to unmask enemy hiding places and destroy foliage during the war. 

It has been linked to a variety of health problems, ranging from rare conditions and certain birth defects in veterans' offspring to diseases that are somewhat common in middle age, such as prostate cancer and adult-onset diabetes. A regulation to provide monthly compensation for Vietnam veterans with adult-onset diabetes is expected later this year. VA estimates that approximately 200,000 Vietnam veterans will receive service-connection for their diabetes within the first five years under the new policy. About 36,000 veterans from all periods of service are already recognized as "service connected" for diabetes. As part of its outreach, VA is expanding its Agent Orange Review newsletter mailings to over 600,000 identified, in-country Vietnam veterans. 

A special issue of the newsletter has been prepared which summarizes VA benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange and the procedures to obtain benefits. The newsletter, along with the helpline, builds upon longstanding VA outreach to let Vietnam veterans know of changes to their benefits. Over the last 18 years, VA has provided periodic newsletters to over 300,000 Vietnam veterans who have received free Agent Orange-related physical examinations. 

The helpline is located at the St. Louis VA Regional Office, which has a similar toll-free helpline for Gulf War veterans. The two helplines will share the same telephone number, with callers selecting the service they wish. For general information on VA benefits and programs, visit VA's website at www.va.gov. VA has developed a specific Agent Orange Web Page in conjunction with the helpline. It can be accessed at www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/herbicide.

VA To Create Benefits for Some Childhood Leukemia Victims

April 20, 2001 WASHINGTON -- Hours after receiving a study that linked Agent Orange to a deadly form of childhood leukemia, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to begin setting up benefits for these children. "The medical evidence is clear and persuasive that these illnesses are associated with the service of our men and women during the Vietnam War," said Principi. "Equally clear is VA's responsibility to provide benefits and programs that meet the needs of these veterans and their families."

Principi's decision affects the children of Vietnam veterans with acute myelogenous leukemia, a rare, deadly form of the childhood disease. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report April 19 that cited "limited or suggestive" evidence that a parent's exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War may lead to a child contracting the disease. About 500 to 1,000 children of Vietnam veterans are believed to have the disease.

Since VA has no legal authority to provide benefits for these children, Principi said he has obtained White House approval to ask Congress for legislation to create special benefits. VA officials are determining what those benefits should be. In 1997, VA set up a program for the children of Vietnam veterans with spina bifida. That program provides health-care benefits, vocational training and a monthly allowance based upon the severity of the illness. About 940 people with spina bifida are now receiving these VA benefits.


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