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Exposure to Agent Orange Outside of Vietnam

 

Until recently, the VA would grant compensation to veterans exposed to Agent

Orange (AO) outside of Vietnam only if the claimant proved exposure to AO

and provided a medical connection between the current disease and that

exposure.

 

In an apparent effort to equalize the treatment of all veterans exposed to

AO, the VA recently announced that if exposure outside of Vietnam were

proven, and the veteran had one of the ten diseases presumed by law to be

related to exposure to AO, the medical connection would be presumed and the

claim granted unless there were other disqualifying factors. See comments on

the final rule adding diabetes to the list of "AO diseases" in 38 C.F.R.

3.309(e), at 66 Federal Register, page 23, 166 (May 8, 2001).

 

In addition, any veteran concerned about exposure to AO during use,

manufacture, testing or transport outside of Vietnam, may be given an AO

physical by the VA and added to the Agent Orange Registry (VHA Directive

2000-027).

 

The only real issue is proving exposure (all persons who served in Vietnam

are presumed to have been exposed.) The VA is determining whether Department

of Defense information is sufficient to add some non-Vietnam units to the

presumptive exposure list, but none have been added as of June 2001. The

following areas outside of Vietnam have been confirmed as places where AO

was used:

 

1. The Korean demilitarized zone in 1968 and 1969 (extensive spraying).

 

2. Fort Drum, NY in 1959 (testing).

 

Other areas where veterans allege AO to have been sprayed include:

 

1. Guam from 1955 through 1960s (spraying).

 

2. Johnston Atoll (1972-1978) was used for unused AO storage.

 

3. Panama Canal Zone from 1960s to early 1970s (spraying).

 

************also see:

1154-3.304-ao outside of vietnam    below

 

See section D under combat. this was just revised in Dec of 2001. This

allows those that served outside of  Vietnam and were exposed to AO to file

for compensation I amalso attaching a document about Panama and Guam havinmg

also been added to the list of AO locations.

 

[Code of Federal Regulations]

[Title 38, Volume 1]

[Revised as of July 1, 2001]

>From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO

Access

[CITE: 38CFR3.304]

 

[Page 219-220]

 

            TITLE 38--PENSIONS, BONUSES, AND VETERANS'

RELIEF

 

                CHAPTER I--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS

AFFAIRS

 

PART 3--ADJUDICATION--Table of Contents

 

     Subpart A--Pension, Compensation, and Dependency

and Indemnity

                              Compensation

 

Sec. 3.304  Direct service connection; wartime and

peacetime.

 

    (a) General. The basic considerations relating to

service connection

are stated in Sec. 3.303. The criteria in this section

apply only to

disabilities which may have resulted from service in a

period of war or

service rendered on or after January 1, 1947.

    (b) Presumption of soundness. The veteran will be

considered to have

been in sound condition when examined, accepted and

enrolled for

service, except as to defects, infirmities, or

disorders noted at

entrance into service, or where clear and unmistakable

(obvious or

manifest) evidence demonstrates that an injury or

disease existed prior

thereto. Only such conditions as are recorded in

examination reports are

to be considered as noted.

 

 

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1111)

 

    (1) History of preservice existence of conditions

recorded at the

time of examination does not constitute a notation of

such conditions

but will be considered together with all other

material evidence in

determinations as to inception. Determinations should

not be based on

medical judgment alone as distinguished from accepted

medical

principles, or on history alone without regard to

clinical factors

pertinent to the basic character, origin and

development of such injury

or disease. They should be based on thorough analysis

of the evidentiary

showing and careful correlation of all material facts,

with due regard

to accepted medical principles pertaining to the

history,

manifestations, clinical course, and character of the

particular injury

or disease or residuals thereof.

    (2) History conforming to accepted medical

principles should be

given due consideration, in conjunction with basic

clinical data, and be

accorded probative value consistent with accepted

medical and

evidentiary principles in relation to value consistent

with accepted

medical evidence relating to incurrence, symptoms and

course of the

injury or disease, including official and other

records made prior to,

during or subsequent to service, together with all

other lay and medical

evidence concerning the inception, development and

manifestations of the

particular condition will be taken into full account.

    (3) Signed statements of veterans relating to the

origin, or

incurrence of any disease or injury made in service if

against his or

her own interest is of no force and effect if other

data do not

establish the fact. Other evidence will be considered

as though such

statement were not of record.

 

 

(Authority: 10 U.S.C. 1219)

 

    (c) Development. The development of evidence in

connection with

claims for

 

[[Page 220]]

 

service connection will be accomplished when deemed

necessary but it

should not be undertaken when evidence present is

sufficient for this

determination. In initially rating disability of

record at the time of

discharge, the records of the service department,

including the reports

of examination at enlistment and the clinical records

during service,

will ordinarily suffice. Rating of combat injuries or

other conditions

which obviously had their inception in service may be

accomplished

pending receipt of copy of the examination at

enlistment and all other

service records.

    (d) Combat. Satisfactory lay or other evidence

that an injury or

disease was incurred or aggravated in combat will be

accepted as

sufficient proof of service connection if the evidence

is consistent

with the circumstances, conditions or hardships of

such service even

though there is no official record of such incurrence

or aggravation.

 

 

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1154(b))

 

    (e) Prisoners of war. Where disability

compensation is claimed by a

former prisoner of war, omission of history or

findings from clinical

records made upon repatriation is not determinative of

service

connection, particularly if evidence of comrades in

support of the

incurrence of the disability during confinement is

available. Special

attention will be given to any disability first

reported after

discharge, especially if poorly defined and not

obviously of

intercurrent origin. The circumstances attendant upon

the individual

veteran's confinement and the duration thereof will be

associated with

pertinent medical principles in determining whether

disability

manifested subsequent to service is etiologically

related to the

prisoner of war experience.

    (f) Post-traumatic stress disorder. Service

connection for post-

traumatic stress disorder requires medical evidence

diagnosing the

condition in accordance with Sec. 4.125(a) of this

chapter; a link,

established by medical evidence, between current

symptoms and an in-

service stressor; and credible supporting evidence

that the claimed in-

service stressor occurred. If the evidence establishes

that the veteran

engaged in combat with the enemy and the claimed

stressor is related to

that combat, in the absence of clear and convincing

evidence to the

contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is

consistent with the

circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the

veteran's service, the

veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the

occurrence of the

claimed in-service stressor. If the evidence

establishes that the

veteran was a prisoner-of-war under the provisions of

Sec. 3.1(y) of

this part and the claimed stressor is related to that

prisoner-of-war

experience, in the absence of clear and convincing

evidence to the

contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is

consistent with the

circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the

veteran's service, the

veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the

occurrence of the

claimed in-service stressor.

 

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1154(b))

 

[26 FR 1580, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 31 FR 4680,

Mar. 19, 1966; 39

FR 34530, Sept. 26, 1974; 58 FR 29110, May 19, 1993;

64 FR 32808, June

18, 1999]