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Agent Orange exposure will finally lead to benefits

Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide, made its way onto the battlefields of Vietnam during the American war there, cutting through the vegetation. It was carried in C-123 aircraft, which dumped it on the landscape below.

In the years since Vietnam, a lot has been learned about how dangerous the chemical can be. A group of more than 2,000 soldiers who served in the Air Force at the time were exposed to Agent Orange while riding in the C-123s. They have now spent years trying to get the Veterans' Affairs Office to give them benefits based on this exposure, but the VA had long refused.

That's all changing now. The VA has determined that these soldiers do deserve benefits for their exposure, and they will be granted.

The benefits will include both disability payments and healthcare options, as needed. There are around 14 different symptoms that have been connected to Agent Orange in multiple cases, and these soldiers have some of the symptoms.

Naturally, this does not mean that anyone with the symptoms will automatically get benefits. Every case will have to be reviewed to see if it can really be traced back to the Agent Orange and the aircraft the men and women served on. Still, this is a big step forward for those who served in Vietnam and who have been dealing with these things for a long time.

Have you been suffering in Minnesota from war-related injuries, even if they were caused decades ago? If so, you need to know what rights you may have to benefits, especially when new rulings hit the books.

Source: Military Times, "VA to grant benefits for Agent Orange exposure," Patricia Kime, June 19, 2015

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