Veterans were making disability claims for ailments related to their exposure to Agent Orange herbicide while deployed to Southeast Asia soon after returning stateside.
As long as veterans have been making claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been denying those claims. The VA published the Agent Orange Program Guide in 1978 and then relied on it to deny veterans’ Agent Orange disability claims.
In 1979, a suit was filed challenging the Agent Orange Program Guide itself. The original petition claimed the publication not only served as a substantive rule, but its issuance violated the Administrative Procedure Act.
The suit, unfortunately, was filed prior to the existence of the Federal Circuit. Further, it was filed prior to any court having the statutory authority to analyze whether the VA’s rules complied with the Administrative Procedure Act. Therefore, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed the 30-year-old petition for lack of jurisdiction.
Chloracne was the single condition the Agent Orange Program Guide liked to Agent Orange exposure. Because of this, the VA essentially denied disability claims for any condition linked to Agent Orange that was not chloracne. Veterans’ disability claims based conditions ranging from cancer to neurological dysfunction to genetic damage on being exposed to the toxic herbicide.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.