VA adds three Agent Orange illnesses for compensation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to compensate Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange for three additional illnesses. The newly included conditions are hairy cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., commended the move this week.

“I’m pleased that the Obama Administration and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, have taken decisive action to help the 68,000 Minnesota military personnel who were potentially exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam,” Ellison said in a statement. “Our Veterans deserve compensation for their ailments which prevented or reduced their ability to seek gainful employment. This is another step in the right direction.”

Agent Orange is the name of a mixture of highly toxic herbicides used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War. Exposure to Agent Orange has already been connected with over a dozen major illnesses, according to Ellison.

“We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service, and we will,” Shinseki said in a statement.  “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.”

To learn more about Agent Orange exposure and VA services and programs call Ellison’s Veterans caseworker, Mike Siebenaler, at (612) 522-1212 or go here.

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