Thursday, August 5, 2010

60-Day Countdown Nears for New ‘AO’ Claims BYLINE: Tom Philpott

The Department of Veterans Affairs is expected in October to pay thousands of disability claims to Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson's disease and B-cell leukemia ---- illnesses newly associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants used in the war.

A 60-day countdown to the day that the VA can start compensating up to 86,000 veterans retroactively for these diseases will begin when the agency publishes its final implementing regulation, which could be next week.

Congress sent a strong signal of support to these veterans this month when first the Senate, and on Tuesday, the House passed the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (HR 4899), which included $13.4 billion for the VA to pay the first wave of compensation claims for these diseases.

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