Each year on March 29, National Vietnam War Veterans Day brings Americans together to honor Veterans of this war and their families for their service and sacrifice. On that day in 1973, the last combat troops withdrew from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil. With an estimated 6 million Vietnam Veterans currently living in the U.S. or abroad, VA remains dedicated to serving all Veterans of the Vietnam Era, along with their family members and caregivers.
While in the military, some Veterans may have been exposed to a variety of environmental and chemical hazards that carry potential health risks. During the Vietnam War, one such hazard was Agent Orange, a blend of herbicides sprayed from 1962 to 1971 to remove the leaves of trees and other foliage. In the years since, VA has recognized certain cancers and diseases as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange during qualifying military service.
If you’re a Vietnam Veteran or the eligible survivor of a Veteran with a presumptive health condition, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation. A presumptive condition is a condition VA assumes is related to a Veteran’s qualifying military service. If you have an illness that is not on the list of presumptive diseases, but you believe it is connected to military exposure, you can still file a claim for VA disability benefits. However, you will need to submit more evidence to support your claim.
You can file a claim or appeal a decided claim on your own or with help from an accredited attorney, claims agent or Veterans Service Officer (VSO). These professionals are trained and certified in the VA claims and appeals processes and can help you with VA-related needs. Find out more about accredited representatives and how they can help you by visiting: www.va.gov/disability/get-help-filing-claim/.
Additional benefits and resources
In addition to disability compensation, Vietnam Veterans may be eligible for a variety of other VA benefits, including monthly pension payments, home loans, life insurance, burial services and more. You can access the 2021 Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors booklet here.
Please visit www.va.gov to learn more about available benefits and services. You can also call VA at 800-827-1000 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday to speak with a representative.