Secretary of Veterans Affairs Considers Additional Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions

Manchester Ink Link - U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin on Wednesday announced that he will consider adding new presumptive conditions that may qualify for disability compensation for veterans related to Agent Orange exposure.

“After thoroughly reviewing the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)’s latest report regarding Veterans and Agent Orange, and associated data and recommendations from the NAM Task Force, I have made a decision to further explore new presumptive conditions for service connection that may ultimately qualify for disability compensation,”  Secretary Shulkin said.  “I appreciate NAM’s work and the commitment and expertise of VA’s NAM Task Force, and look forward to working with the Administration on the next steps in the process.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will now begin work with the Administration to concurrently conduct a legal and regulatory review of these potential presumptive conditions for awarding disability compensation to eligible veterans.

Any ailments Shulkin should approve to the VA’s list of 14 “presumptive diseases” linked to herbicide exposure would make many more thousands of Vietnam War veterans eligible for VA disability compensation and health care.

The conversation around Agent Orange exposure has heightened since Sen. John McCain’s diagnosis in July of glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. During the Vietnam war, the military sprayed millions of gallons of the herbicide in Vietnam to kill enemy-covering jungle brush, and in the process, may have exposed as many as 2.6 million U.S. service members to potential repercussions — including McCain.

Ailments under review  include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson-like symptoms without diagnosis of that particular disease.

For Secretary Shulkin's official statement on Agent Orange presumptive conditions, please click HERE.