Deadline approaching for vets exposed to Agent Orange to file claims

Vietnam-era veterans who have medical diagnoses for three presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure should file their disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs by August 30 to quality for up to one year of retroactive benefits, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said Thursday.

The three diseases recently added to the VA's list of presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange are ischemic heart disease, hairy cell and other B-cell leukemias and Parkinson's disease.

"I hope that by drawing attention to this deadline, we can encourage the eligible troops to apply for the back pay they have earned," Courtney said in a news release. "To be clear, veterans suffering from these and other presumptive conditions can apply for disability benefits at any time, including after the August 30 deadline. To be eligible for retroactive benefits, however, they must apply by that date. As we continue to learn the devastating long-term effects that Agent Orange has had on our own veterans, it is critically important that we ensure they get the care they need and deserve."

According to the VA, widows and widowers whose spouse died from Agent Orange presumptive conditions may also qualify for retroactive benefits.

Veterans can file disability claims online at the VA's Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System, at: https://www.fasttrack.va.gov/AOFastTrack.

Courtney said he has strongly advocated expanding eligibility for veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and is a cosponsor of the Agent Orange Equity Act.

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