Why Is Presumption Of Service Connection So Important
Presumptive service connection is important because it allows the VA to skip the nexus requirement, meaning you dont need a doctor to say that all your symptoms stem from a particular event or events that occurred during your deployment overseas. In other words, it cuts through a layer of red tape. The requirements for presumptive service connection for Vietnam veterans are as follows:
- You qualify as a Vietnam War veteran
- You served in Vietnam or its waterways
- You suffer from a qualifying chronic disability
- The disability first arose during your time of active overseas deployment, or has been at least 10% disabling since you returned from service
If you believe you were exposed to Agent Orange and you developed a cancer or another serious illness that is not on the presumptive benefits list, you may still be eligible for benefits. Contact a VA-certified claims expert at the Rep for Vets today to help you get the benefits you earned.
Veterans with PTSD are at very high risk for sleep apnea. Learn how to connect your PTSD and sleep apnea to get the benefits you earned. Read more »
How To Win Disability Benefits With Parkinsons Disease
April 19, 2021 By Jeremy Schooley
A diagnosis of Parkinsons disease can be life-changing. Parkinsons usually begins gradually and worsens over time. It is episodic and unpredictable. Symptoms are both obvious and hidden, and many are often underdiagnosed.
As it often advances into stages of disability and loss of independence, Parkinsons disease forces many people to stop working. If this is your situation, you may be eligible for vital disability benefits for Parkinsons disease, through the Social Security Administration , from private insurers, or from the Department of Veterans Affairs .
What many claimants are shocked to learn is that most disability claims based on Parkinsons disease are initially deniedsometimes in error, sometimes due to insufficient information, sometimes unfairly.
In this post, you will learn why many PD disability claims are denied, and how you can approach your claim most effectivelyso you can move forward to protect your rights and secure your rightful benefits.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
The symptoms of Parkinsons can vary and may be different for each person. According to Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms associated with Parkinsons disease include:
- Writing Changes
Parkinsons can also lead to a variety of different complications, which may or may not be treatable. Mayo Clinic lists the following Parkinsons complications:
- Difficulty Thinking
- Changes in Blood Pressure
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What Evidence Will I Need To Submit With My Claim
Youll need to submit these records:
- A medical record that shows you have an Agent Orange-related health condition, and
- Military records to show how you were exposed to Agent Orange during your service
If your condition isnt on the list of presumptive conditions, youll also need to provide at least one of these types of evidence:
- Evidence that shows the problem started duringor got worse because ofyour military service, or
- Scientific or medical evidence stating that the condition you have is caused by Agent Orange. Scientific proof may include an article from a medical journal or a published research study.
More Questions About Getting Benefits
We added these conditions to the presumptive condition list in 2021.
If we denied your claim for any of these conditions in the past, well automatically review your case again. You dont need to file another claim. Well send you a letter to let you know were reviewing your case.
If we denied your claim because we determined that your disability wasnt causedor made worseby your active-duty service, you can file a new claim based on the change in the law.
In certain cases, if we approve your claim, well pay you back to the date when you submitted your original claim. We refer to this as retroactive payment.
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Va Adds Atypical Parkinsonism To List Of Agent Orange
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, known as the VA, has added atypical Parkinsonism to the list of conditions presumptively associated with Agent Orange exposure during military service.
That will make U.S. military veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange eligible for the VAs disability compensation benefits.
Atypical Parkinsonism refers to any condition characterized by Parkinsons-like symptoms such as tremors, slow movement, impaired speech, or muscle stiffness caused by health conditions or factors other than Parkinsons hallmark progressive loss of nerve cells in the brain.
Bladder cancer and hypothyroidism a disorder in which the activity of the thyroid gland is impaired also were added to the list of Agent Orange-associated conditions. Altogether, there now are 17 conditions on the list. Parkinsons disease has been included since 2010.
Many of our Nations Veterans have waited a long time for these benefits, Denis McDonough, the VA secretary, said in a recent agency blog post.
VA will not make them wait any longer, McDonough said, adding that this is absolutely the right thing to do for Veterans and their families.
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. used several herbicides, including Agent Orange, to destroy foliage in the jungle and increase visibility. The herbicide, named for the orange band around its storage barrel, also was used to destroy enemy crops, so as to limit their food supply.
Parkinson’s And Agent Orange
herbicidedefoliantherbicidal warfareexposed to herbicides during military servicedisability compensationhealth careVA specialty care for Parkinson’s diseaseAgent Orange registry health examsurvivors’ benefitstooth cracks14 conditions related to herbicide exposurePending Agent Orange legislation for 117th Congress :S.657H.R.2269A bill tH.R.3967The Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, or the Honoring Our PACT Act. Based on 15 individual bipartisan toxic exposure bills, this is the most comprehensive toxic exposure bill ever considered in Congress.H.R.8585
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Presumptive Service Connection For Parkinsons:
The VA may presume your PD is connected to your military service. Veterans who develop Parkinsons disease and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides or contaminants during military service do not have to prove a connection between their disease and service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. UPDATE: As of January 2020, the VA extended the presumption of Agent Orange exposure and other toxic herbicides to Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans, and to veterans who served in or near the Korean DMZ . H.R.299 Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.
Veterans with Parkinsons disease who served in the following locations and specified times need not prove they were exposed to VA-recognized toxins to get disability compensation:
- Exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam: Veterans who set foot in Vietnam, and veterans serving aboard ships operating on the close coastal waters and inland waterways of Vietnam, and as of January 2020, Blue Water Veterans for any duration between January 9, 1962 May 7, 1975, or
- Exposure to Agent Orange in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone for any duration between April 1, 1968 August 31, 1971, or
- Exposure to Contaminated Water, Marine Base Camp Lejeune, NC for at least 30 days between August 1953 December 1987 .
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Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Because Parkinsons is a progressive disease, the symptoms vary in manifestation and duration. Listed below are signs of Parkinsons at the initial/mild stage, the secondary/moderate stage, and advanced stage. We also cover parkinson-like symptoms.
Initial/Mild Sign of Parkinsons:
- Rigidity stiffness & inflexibility of the limbs, neck & trunk
- Postural Instability tendency to be unstable when standing upright
- Change in posture and facial expressions
Secondary/Moderate Signs of Parkinsons:
- Freezing the temporary sensation of ones feet being glued to the floor
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Parkinsons Disease And Traumatic Brain Injuries
Additionally, a 2018 study published in Neurology, demonstrated an increased risk of Parkinsons disease and parkinson like symptoms from traumatic brain injuries the report used U.S. military and VAs databases to identify vets with TBIs to study.
Below, well get into certain environmental factors, such as occupational exposure to chemicals, that have been linked to Parkinsons.
Parkinsons And Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury occurs when brain function is disrupted by a traumatic event such as an IED blast, gunshot, car accident, etc. There has been a substantial increase in TBIs among service members since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The VA diagnoses a TBI as mild, moderate, or severe based on the severity of their symptoms.
If Parkinsons Disease develops at any point following a moderate or severe TBI, the veteran will be presumptively service-connected for it.
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Orthopedic Problems Related To Parkinsons Disease
While Parkinsons Disease is a neurological disorder, it can quite frequently cause orthopedic problems. Falls from Parkinsons are frequent, both from the movement symptoms as well as the orthostatic hypotension noted above. As Parkinsons frequently attacks the elderly, their bones may be brittle and easily break during a fall. To make matters worse, Parkinsons sufferers have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. This is believed to be due to a loss of bone mass resulting from the fact that PD sufferers tend to move around a lot less than non-sufferers.
In those sufferers who have had severe falls or needed spinal or other surgery, the tremors associated with Parkinsons often severely affect recovery, or make total recovery nearly impossible. A cast is designed to reduce movement of a recovering limb involuntary tremors are not helpful in this regard.
Psychiatric Problems and Parkinsons Disease
Both Parkinsons itself, as well as the medications used to treat it, can have severe psychiatric effects that can often be extremely debilitating. Dementia is common, and PD sufferers often experience cognitive problems, attention problems, as well as depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.
Other Issues related to Parkinsons Disease
What If The Rating Decision Is Incorrect
Your rating decision from VA may be wrong. VA might determine that your Parkinsons disease is not service-connected because there was no event or diagnosis during your time of service. But, direct service-connection is only one way to achieve your goal.
There are other means to service-connection that we will talk about in future blogs. If VA has granted service-connection and rated you for Parkinsons disease, there is a very good chance your rating is too low since there are so many separate sets of symptoms that VA must evaluate as part of this multi-faceted disease.
If you think your rating decision is wrong, you can appeal the decision by filing a notice of disagreement. Also, you can file for an increased rating if your Parkinsons disease gets worse.
Parkinsons disease is just one of the many diseases that VA presumes was caused by exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Make sure VA applies these presumptions correctly to your claim. If you have any questions about your claim, you can set up a free consultation with us.
To find out more about how that process works and what you will learn in a free consultation, just take a look at this article. When you are ready to set one up, just call us at 214-8885 or complete and submit this short consultation request form.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
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Parkinsons Ssdi Claim Based On A Reduced Residual Functional Capacity
If you cannot satisfy the guidelines of the SSAs medical listing for Parkinsonian, you have another option. You may qualify based on a reduced RFC.
Here you must prove that your condition has made it impossible to work consistently and earn a gainful living. SSA will base its decision on the evidence you provide, which can be very difficult at the initial application stage. You need to prove you cannot do your past relevant work and any other work. Adjudicators often find the claimants reported signs and symptoms of PD are not severe enough or are incomplete when filed without attorney representation.
You must be thorough and provide what SSA needs to see:
- A detailed history of your medical condition and functional abilities. This process is critical and involves your medical records, doctors statements, and further evidence that evaluates and shows your inability to work consistently.
- Evidence of various forms of limitations, such as postural, exertional, manipulative , visual, communicative, mental, and environmental.
- Your case strengthened by documenting all symptoms, carefully tracking worsening symptoms, describing problems with daily activities, including the testimony of family, friends, co-workers, and reporting prescriptions for any assistive devices as a Parkinsons patient.
Service Requirements For Presumption Of Exposure
We base eligibility for VA disability compensation benefits, in part, on whether you served in a location that exposed you to Agent Orange. We call this having a presumption of exposure.
You have a presumption of exposure if you meet at least one of these service requirements.
Between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, you must have served for any length of time in at least one of these locations:
- In the Republic of Vietnam, or
- Aboard a U.S. military vessel that operated in the inland waterways of Vietnam, or
- On a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia
Or you must have served in at least one of these locations that weve added based on the PACT Act:
- Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976, or
- Laos from December 1, 1965, through September 30, 1969, or
- Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province from April 16, 1969, through April 30, 1969, or
- Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off Guam or American Samoa from January 9, 1962, through July 30, 1980, or
- Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972, through September 30, 1977
Or at least one of these must be true for you:
Eligible Reserve locations, time periods, and units include:
For more service requirement details, review:
If we denied your disability claim in the past and we now consider your condition presumptive
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Veterans And Agent Orange: Update 2014 Parkinsons
In 2016, the Institute of Medicine published its 10th edition of Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014 regarding the health effects related to Agent Orange exposure. This update included some clarification about Parkinsons disease and how it is diagnosed that may be beneficial for veterans pursuing VA disability compensation. Specifically, the report noted that Parkinsons disease is diagnosed by exclusion . Doctors will diagnose the condition by taking into account all of the veterans symptoms and then ruling out other possible conditions that could be causing them. When all other possible conditions are effectively eliminated, the doctors will then formally diagnose Parkinsons disease.
After releasing Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014, the IOM urged VA to act on its recommendations and extend the presumption of service connection to Parkinsons-like symptoms, as well as bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and hypertension. However, VA has continued to prolong this process.
Treatment Of Atypical Parkinsonism
Treatment for atypical parkinsonism is focused on minimizing symptoms and improving quality of life. Most forms of atypical parkinsonism will not respond to levodopa treatment, but other treatments may be useful. Patients should work with a neurologist to determine the best treatment for their symptoms. Many patients can benefit from physiotherapy to minimize falls, and speech therapy to strengthen the muscles involved in speaking and swallowing.
Parkinsons News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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Requirements For Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases
We consider a condition presumptive when its established by law or regulation. If youve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, you dont need to prove that it started duringor got worse because ofyour military service.
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
- Porphyria cutanea tardaNote: Under our rating regulations, this condition must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of herbicide exposure.
If you have a cancer or illness thats not on our list of presumptive conditions, but you believe it was caused by Agent Orange exposure, you can still file a claim for VA disability benefits. But youll need to submit more evidence. Keep reading to learn about service requirements and supporting evidence.
Was Your Va Disability Claim For Parkinsons Disease Denied
If VA denied your claim, the veterans disability team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to assist you. Whether you are filing an initial claim, appealing a denial of benefits, or seeking an earlier effective date, an accredited attorney from CCK may be able to guide you through the process. For more information, as well as a complimentary case review, contact us online or at 800-544-9144.
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Vietnam Veterans Exposed To Agent Orange Qualify For More Benefits From 2021 Ndaa
ALBANY, N.Y. Its been over 50 years since Emil Baker was eating, sleeping, and fighting on the base known as Rocket City during the Vietnam War. However, the toxic fumes from Agent Orange that filled his lungs at only 19-years-old still continue to impact his health today.
As a kid, Id say, this is great. Theres absolutely no vegetation here. And here I am lying in Agent Orange with no clue that it was there, Baker said.
The newly passed 2021 Defense Authorization Act has recognized three more illnesses stemming from exposure to Agent Orange during service.
Baker is one of the more than 34,000 Veterans who will now be eligible for benefits for Parkinsonism, Bladder Cancer, or Hypothyroidismconditions now acknowledged as service-connected presumptive conditions.
I have tremors. My balance is off, I trip and fall, Im unsteady. And now, my memory. I have certain words I cant come out with, Baker said.
Baker suffers from ParksonsismParkinsons-like symptoms without the diagnosis of the disease. Parkinsons Disease was already acknowledged as one of the 14 diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure however, that still left Baker without benefits for his Parksons-like symptoms.
Baker made his claim for his Parkinsonism on New Years Day after the defense bill passed. He said, its progress, but its come a bit late for many Vietnam Veterans in need.
Baker agrees that Veterans, especially from the Vietnam War, dont like asking for help.