Can I get VA disability if Agent Orange caused birth defects in my children?

Yes. Biological children of veterans can be eligible for many VA benefits, including compensation, monthly benefits based on the degree of disability, medical benefits, and even educational stipends and job training services. However, veterans will have to prove that their service in Vietnam or Korea qualifies for presumptive Agent Orange exposure in order to collect VA disability benefits for a child.

Birth Defect Benefits for Children of Vietnam and of Korean DMZ Veterans

The VA acknowledges a link between Agent Orange and the risk of developing certain health conditions. In order to qualify for presumptive disability for birth defects, Vietnam-era veterans and their children must have the following qualifying evidence:

  • Spina bifida. Exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides has been linked to spina bifida, a condition where the spine of a developing child fails to close during pregnancy. Children of mothers or fathers who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 qualify for presumptive disability for spina bifida, as do children of veterans who served in or near the Korean demilitarized zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971.
  • Birth defects. Numerous birth defects in children of female veterans have been linked to Agent Orange exposure, including cleft palate, congenital heart defects, and hypospadias. In order for a biological child of female veterans to qualify for disability, the mother must have served in Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975. In addition, the child must have been conceived after the veteran entered Vietnam, and the defect must have caused permanent disability.
  • Accepted dates of service. Only certain veterans are eligible for compensation for Agent Orange exposure, due to the dates and locations where these chemicals were used. A veteran parent’s service records must show that he or she served in Vietnam or Korea during specific service dates and duty assignments. In addition, the veteran must be able to prove a biological relationship with the child, as well as show a birth certificate to determine the date of conception.

The VA disability attorneys at Cuddigan Law can explain your options at no cost to you. Fill out the short contact form on this page to get started, or click here to read through a free copy of our book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska