VA Now Accepting Agent Orange - Type II Diabetes Claims

From: "\"Doc\" Melson" <>


VA Now Accepting Agent Orange - Type II Diabetes Claims

May 8, 2001
Dave Eberhart
Stars and Stripes News Editor



The VA is accepting benefits claims from Vietnam veterans with Type 2 diabetes, although new rules authorizing the benefits won't take effect until 60 days from their May 8 publication in the Federal Register.

In March, The Stars and Stripes reported on the VA's plan to add Type 2 diabetes to the list of diseases known to be caused by exposure to dioxin (an ingredient in the defoliant Agent Orange), making the disease presumptively service-connected for Vietnam veterans.

The cost of the new benefit over the next five years is projected to be $3.3 billion, with about 220,000 veterans receiving benefits.

"The hazards of the battlefield include more than bullets and shells," said VA Secretary Anthony Principi May 8. "As our understanding of the health risks faced by our military personnel increases, VA will adjust its programs and benefits to fit the needs of veterans."

Veterans affected by the new rules will receive priority for VA health care and, depending on the severity of their illnesses, disability compensation from $101 to $2,107 monthly.

IOM Report

Last November, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported finding "limited/suggestive" evidence of a link between adult-onset, or Type 2, diabetes, and Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam. Then-acting VA Secretary Hershel Gober later announced that there was a positive association between exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam and type 2 diabetes.

The VA estimates that about 9 percent of the 2.3 million living Vietnam veterans have Type 2 diabetes, characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by the body's inability to process the hormone insulin. Approximately 16 percent of veterans currently receiving VA medical care have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Agent Orange Used In Korea

Since November, the VA has been notifying veterans who served in Korea in 1968 or 1969 that Agent Orange Review (AOR) examinations, consultations and counseling will be furnished on request. The review was prompted by newly disclosed information that the herbicide had been used in Korea.

According to the Defense Department, 21,000 gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed in Korea in 1968-69 in an area extending from the Civilian Control Line to the southern boundary of the Demilitarized Zone.

Only South Korean troops were involved in the actual spraying, but the DoD says U.S. service members may have been exposed. As many as 80,000 U.S. personnel were deployed to Korea in 1968-69.

Recognized Diseases

The number of diseases recognized by the VA as being associated with Agent Orange has steadily increased since the early 1990s.

These conditions now are considered serviceconnected for Vietnam veterans: chloracne (a skin disorder); porphyria cutanea tarda (a liver disorder); acute or subacute peripheral neuropathy (a nerve disorder), and certain cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer and respiratory cancers (including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus.




"From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember'd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day".



From Henry V by William Shakespeare


Bruce "Doc". Melson