At Rutter Mills, we’ve worked tirelessly to help many veterans exposed to Agent Orange receive the compensation they deserve – veterans like those whose stories appear in the Virginian-Pilot’s Sunday cover story on March 6, 2016. Get the details of the story below, and please know that your chances of winning an appeal after being denied veterans’ disability benefits improves significantly when you have the help of our experienced veterans’ disability attorneys. We take care of the rigorous process for you, so that you don’t have to spend your time jumping through hoops. If you or someone you love has been denied the veterans’ benefits they deserve, please call us at 757-622-5000. We can help.
The Virginian-Pilot’s March 6th, 2016 cover story is entitled, “Agent Orange: Burden of Proof Falls on Sick Vets.” “Many who served in Vietnam have to find their own evidence that they are entitled to compensation,” states the subtitle. The Pilot explains that 2.6 million Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange, a chemical the U.S. military used to thin out dense forests, making it easier to spot the enemy. This chemical has been linked to illnesses in veterans such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. However, veterans are only eligible for compensation as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange if they went on land in Vietnam, or their ships entered Vietnam’s rivers. Shockingly, the Veteran’s Administration does not have a list of exactly what ships, and thereby which ship crewmembers, are eligible for compensation. Instead, the VA requires each individual veteran to provide evidence of where they were in Vietnam waterways or where they went ashore, as well as the name of their ship.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that Joseph Pires, age 68, spent 2.5 years working to convince the VA that his ship, the aircraft carrier USS Bennington, should be added to the list of ships eligible for compensation. “They put everything on your shoulders,” said Pires, an honorable veteran suffering from prostate cancer and ischemic heart disease. It took years for Pires just to get his ship added to the list so that he could be eligible for benefits. Now he is waiting to hear if he will actually be approved for those benefits. His claim has been pending for nine months.
The VA requires veterans like Joseph Pires to spend a lot of time proving they are eligible for benefits – and many deserving veterans are denied when they first apply. If you are someone you love has been denied veterans’ benefits, call the veterans’ disabilities attorneys at Rutter Mills. Call or text us at 757-622-5000.