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VETERANS VIEWS: New presumptives will give Vietnam veterans more benefits for illnesses

Greg Remus

An important change recently occurred relating to VA benefits for Vietnam Veterans and/or their widows.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs decided to add three illnesses to the current list of diseases for which service connection for Vietnam Veterans is presumed. The illnesses added are B Cell Leukemias, Parkinson's Disease and Ischemic Heart Disease.

The decision was based on an independent study completed by the Institute of Medicine indicting an association between the disease and the exposure to widely used herbicides like Agent Orange.

This means if you are an honorably discharged veteran who served in Vietnam and now have one of these diseases or a residual condition secondary to one of these diseases you may be entitled to compensation and medical treatment.

It is sad to note that over two-thirds of all veterans who served in Vietnam have passed away, as of 2000. If you are a widow(er) of a vet who passed away from one of these illnesses you may be entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) which equates to a monthly stipend of $1,154 per month and CHAMPVA, which is a type of medical insurance.

If you know of a veteran or widow(er) who may be entitled please encourage them to call this office (Hubbard County Veteran Service Office) at 218-732-3561 to apply.

Other illnesses previously recognized and result in the same benefits under the VA's "presumption" rule as being caused by exposure to herbicides (Agent Orange) during the Vietnam War are:

n AL Amyloidosis

n Chloracne

n Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

n Diabetes Mellitus Type II

n Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma

n Porphoria Cutanea Tarda

n Prostate Cancer

n Respiratory Cancers

n Soft Tissue Sarcoma

The purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs.