Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes—these are located in the lymph nodes and lymphoid tissues. There are two main types of lymphomas: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s can be considered indolent or aggressive in nature.

Many veterans who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange which has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 1990, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognized service-connected non-Hodgkin’s disease based on results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Selected Cancers Study. This study indicated that veterans who served in Vietnam were “at an increased risk” due to their exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are eligible for VA disability benefits.

The Fast-Track Processing System for Agent Orange Disability Claims

In 1991, the government established presumption of service connection for some specific diseases associated with exposure to certain chemicals. This included non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2010, the VA announced the idea of a “fast track” for expediting veterans’ claims for service-connected presumptive diseases that may have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange during Vietnam. You qualify to use the fast-track claims process if you’re a veteran who:

  • Served in Vietnam or in the inland waterways between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975
  • Has been diagnosed with any of a variety of diseases, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Veterans who have a disease covered by “presumption of service connection” don’t have to prove that there’s an association between their illness and the time they spent in the military. So, veterans with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have an easier time receiving disability benefits.

If you’re a veteran who was exposed you to Agent Orange, you may have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If so, contact us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation. We can help you file a claim through the fast-track process for disability benefits from the VA.


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