As a Vietnam veteran, you weren’t surprised to discover that Agent Orange could be harmful to humans. While the herbicide may have been used to destroy trees, crops, and jungle cover during the war, it has now been linked to the development of many disabilities—both in residents and soldiers who fought overseas.

Vietnam War veterans may qualify for presumed disability caused by Agent Orange if they served in:

  • Korea. The VA recognizes exposure for service if a Veteran served in a unit which operated along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Korea between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971.
  • Vietnam. The VA allows a presumed Agent Orange disability to veterans who served on the ground in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.
  • Nearby waters. Veterans of the Navy who served on inland waterways in Vietnam, commonly called “Brown Water” Navy, have a presumed disability from the VA for Agent Orange exposure. “Blue Water” Navy (members who served on ships off the shore of Vietnam) are not presumed exposed unless they can prove that they set foot on land in Vietnam or served on an inland waterway sometime between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.

Vietnam-Era Seamen Should Check the VA’s “Ships List” Before Filing for Agent Orange Disability

Although the VA has not granted a presumptive disability to “Blue Water” Navy veterans in Vietnam, there are many ways to prove exposure to Agent Orange during the specified time. The VA maintains a list of all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that operated near Vietnam during the conflict. A veteran who served aboard a listed ship on Vietnam’s inland waterways or visited the country will automatically be given presumption of exposure. If your ship did not enter inland waterways, you may still be presumed exposed if your ship docked to shore or sent boats and returning crew members ashore. Veterans can check the VA ships list here.

Proving that you are disabled can be a frustrating process, especially if you are struggling with the medical symptoms of your condition. At Cuddigan Law, we can take the burden of applying for benefits off of your hands and deal with the VA on your behalf. We also can advance all court costs if you need to appeal your case in court, and you don’t pay us anything until your benefits have been won. Call us today to get started, or learn more about filing for benefits in our free book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.


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