A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.
If your spouse did one or more tours of duty in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange (AO), he may be dealing with many of the unfortunate side effects of AO exposure suffered by a number of Vietnam vets — from Hodgkin's disease to Type II diabetes or any of a variety of leukemias and lymphomas. Handling the multiple doctor and specialist visits required to treat these conditions, picking up prescription medications, and coordinating the necessary health insurance payments can seem like a full-time job on top of caring for an ailing spouse. Fortunately, there should be some funds available to defray the costs of treatment and even offer you some respite care. Read on to learn more about the disability benefits that should be available to your spouse as a result of his military service and exposure to AO.
What benefits are available to veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange?
Veterans who served in Vietnam or Korea during certain years of each war and who have dealt with one or more health-related side effects of AO exposure may be eligible for a relatively substantial cash benefit. The amount of this benefit will depend upon the level of disability caused by the AO exposure — those with multiple or terminal diagnoses are likely to qualify for a much larger benefit than those who have only a single illness not deemed to pose a mortal threat. In some cases, spouses, children, or even grandchildren who have been negatively affected by your AO exposure can also qualify for these cash benefits.
In many cases, veterans who were unable to hold down steady employment during their working years after returning from Vietnam can qualify for retroactive disability benefits if they did not file for these benefits earlier. Veteran disability benefits may be as much as $3,300 per month (in addition to the AO-specific benefits).
Where should you begin when applying for disability?
If you'll need to do most of the heavy lifting on your spouse's behalf when it comes to applying for veteran disability benefits, you may first want to speak either with an attorney who specializes in veteran benefits or an ombudsman with your local VA chapter. These professionals will help you gather the necessary medical documentation, your spouse's military discharge papers, and other documents the VA will need when processing your spouse's disability claim. Failure to include sufficient documentation or to include all the required forms can delay processing and approval of your spouse's claim.
For more information, contact local professionals like Bruce K Billman.Share
6 October 2016