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NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Potential Changes In The Law May Help Veterans Exposed To Agent Orange

Agent Orange was a powerful herbicide the U.S. military sprayed on jungle terrain and crop lands occupied by our enemies, and on our military bases beginning in the 1950s. Today its use is banned as we now know exposure to it causes many health issues. Some veterans who were exposed to it are eligible for compensation and others may soon be. Whether the pending legislation passes or not, our firm is ready to help veterans in the Fort Mill and Charlotte area fight for the benefits they deserve.

Agent Orange is closely associated with the Vietnam War, and for good reason. From 1961 to 1971, the U.S. military sprayed an estimated 20 million gallons of various herbicides across more than 4.5 million acres of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to destroy the forest cover and food crops used by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. When the U.S. troops who served in these areas returned home, they began to report a range of afflictions, including rashes and other skin irritations, psychological and neurological problems, type 2 diabetes, and cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease, prostate cancer, and leukemia. They were also more likely to suffer a miscarriage or have a child born with spina bifida.

In 1991, the Agent Orange Act was signed into law. It formalized the government’s position on what injuries and illnesses could be presumed to be related to the military’s use of herbicides. Those who are not covered by the presumption may still apply for exposure benefits, but they most jump through a bunch of hoops to prove that their injury or illness is directly related to exposure, and not caused by something else. Many veterans insist they are automatically denied when they submit such a claim.

There is now a bill being considered by the Senate which would extend the presumption to those who were stationed on ships in open waters during the war. This is being called the “Blue Water bill” since veterans who served on inland water or who set foot on land during the war already benefit from the presumption. The legislation passed the House of Representatives unanimously in June, so we are waiting to see whether it will continue to move forward. If it does, we are eager to help the many veterans in our area who could benefit from the law take advantage of it.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a lawyer is being able to help veterans get the benefits they deserve. Our firm constantly monitors federal law and North and South Carolina laws governing veterans’ benefits so that we can provide the best service possible to those who have given us so much by service to our country.

If you are a veteran or the family member of a veteran who needs help accessing the benefits you deserve, please contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.


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Monk Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.



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1701 First Baxter Crossing, Suite 101, Fort Mill, SC 29708
| Phone: 803-594-4453
13315 Carowinds Blvd., Suite Q, Charlotte, NC 28273
| Phone: 704-369-9977

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