Sunday, September 5, 2010

VA Readies to Pay Claims for New Agent Orange Presumptives

http://oneoldvet.com/?p=22594
By Tom Philpott
Special to Stars and Stripes

The Department of Veterans Affairs published its final regulation Aug. 31 for compensating Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia, or their surviving spouses.

Veterans diagnosed with these diseases only will have to show they stepped foot in Vietnam sometime from Jan. 9, 1962 through May 7, 1975, to qualify for service-connected disability ratings and compensation.

The first batch of payments will be made immediately after Oct. 30, when a required 60-day review period for Congress will expire.

As many as 93,000 veterans and survivors who filed claims previously for these conditions are in line for retroactive payments. Another 60,000 claims have been filed since Oct. 13, when VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced that these diseases would be added to the list of ailments VA presumes are caused by wartime exposure to Agent Orange. VA projects that at least 150,000 more claims will be filed over the next 12 to 18 months.

In publishing the regulation, VA revealed that the price tag for adding these diseases to its Agent Orange presumptive list could be at least 50 percent higher, over the next 10 years, than the $42.2 billion VA uses.

VA calculated the lower estimate by applying incident rates for these diseases in the general population to the Vietnam veteran population. But Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the veterans’ affairs committee, noted that Vietnam veterans are older. At his request, VA “age-adjusted” the incidence rate for heart disease alone and the cost jumped by $24 billion.

That figure would be even higher but VA officials, using newer data, lowered the average expected disability rating for heart disease from 60 percent down to 50 percent for Akaka’s age-adjusted calculation.

The resulting 10-year estimate of nearly $67 billion also doesn’t reflect the higher incidence of disease expected among Vietnam veterans due to Agent Orange. Still, VA officials said they remain satisfied with their original estimate of $42.2 billion.

The Akaka’s higher cost projection is sure to be raised at a Sept. 23 hearing where his committee will examine how the Agent Orange Act is being applied, and whether a finding by scientists of “limited or suggestive association” between these diseases and herbicide exposure is sufficient evidence to award disability compensation to any ailing Vietnam veteran.

To stop payments, both the Senate and House in this election year would have to pass a joint resolution to block the regulation. President Obama then would have to sign the resolution, after his own Office of Management and Budget spent the past two months studying the VA rule before finally approving it. So VA officials are preparing to make payments.

Here’s a rundown of how payments will be handled for categories of veterans and survivors. This information came from an interview Sept. 1 with Thomas Pamperin, associate deputy under secretary for policy and program management for the Veterans Benefit Administration, and Diana Rubens, associate deputy under secretary for field operations.

RETROACTIVE PAY – Because of a 25-year-old court ruling, Nehmer v. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA must review claims previously filed for these diseases and make payments retroactive to the claim date, or to the date of the Nehmer ruling, Sept. 25, 1985, whichever is later.

The 93,000 veterans and survivors so far identified as having filed a claim for one of these diseases don’t need to file another, said Pamperin. “We are going to review those cases on our own…back to the earliest date they claimed that disability — but not earlier than Nehmer — and will award benefits from that date.”

If the veteran is deceased, VA will award back pay to the surviving spouse. If no surviving spouse is found, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, which litigated the Nehmer decision, will help to identify someone else who might be eligible for the benefits.

Besides disability pay, back payments could include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for the widow, enhanced burial benefits if a veteran’s death was due to a service-connected condition, and 36-months of education benefit to a spouse or a child, no matter what age the child is today, if the veteran was 100-percent disabled at time of death.

If veterans or survivors are worried the VA will not identified them as eligible for retroactive payments, they can file a new claim, Pamperin said.

“We are doing a data run against our corporate record, and some of these corporate records are limited to six diagnostic codes. So we’ve done the best we can with the resources we have to identify people,” he said.

Diana Rubens said 1000 staffers at 13 regional officers, including 326 specially-trained rating specialists, are working only on Nehmer claims, which can involve complex calculations and long searches for next of kin.

RECENT CLAIMS – 60,000 veterans and survivors who have filed claims for the three diseases since last October also will receive Nehmer protection in that payment will be made back to the date of the claim.

Every VA service center and regional office is working to develop and process these claims for payment sometime after Oct. 30.

“Our goal is to spend the next couple of months setting up as many claims as possible for payments as quickly as possible,” Rubens said.

FUTURE CLAIMS – If veterans or survivors planning to submit a new Agent Orange claim can show they had one of these diseases diagnosed on or before Aug. 31 this year, and if they file their claim before Aug. 30, 2011, it will be payable back to Aug. 31, 2010, the date the regulation took effect. Otherwise, payment date will be the date an approved claim was filed.

Pamperin advises veterans to gather medical records from private doctors so VA won’t need to schedule new exams to confirm their diseases.

43 comments:

  1. I've been getting the bums rush for years from the V A. Kid doctor after Kid doctor. Smart ass punks with rich parents just biding their time. We'll see what happens, probably will make everyone appeal till they die.

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    1. thats what their hoping for....

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  2. WAITING* HOPING* PRAYING* LET THIS COUNTRY PAY US BACK, FOR THE SUFFERING, AND THE HUMILIATION WE FACED WHEN WE RETURNED FROM HONORING OUR PLEDGE, AND LIVING THIS LONG TO SEE WHAT IT WAS ALL WORTH.

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  3. i spent 13 months in that hell hole.wounded twice 1/4 aqnd with1/12.i am now 65 i have had my left kidney removed from cancer and now have it in my left.nerve damage,severe ptsd,seizures.i want my money,i was turned down in 2008.i have an attorney this time,

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    1. I HOPE YOU TAKE THEM FOR EVERYTHING. I AM WAITING OVER TWO YEARS FOR MINE.
      GOOD LUCK

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  4. my husband got a decision from our gov on his ischemic heart disease don't get your hopes up what a joke! this was on sat oct. 2, 2010

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  5. Was with the fighting IVY 4th Division all over
    SOuth Vietnam in 67 68....saw the spraying close to us while hunting gooks in the mountains...i had a quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2002.i filed a claim in 2005 for IHD and was denied.Four weeks ago i underwent a 12 hour surgery for a rare srange illness where my stomach deteriorated and detached ,i was near
    death after dehidrating for several weeks.The
    surgions saved me tho im still severely anemic.
    Was that rare illness do to agent orange effect
    who can say ...but the many illnesses ,,to many
    that i suffered are not just bad luck....trust
    me they are mostly tied to my agent orange
    exposure.....my doctor visits cost me 500 dollars
    out of pocket and the med cost etc are eating up my small life savings.....i figure if i live 2
    more years of misery and pain i will also be BROKE....Thank you VA and the wonderful public who looked down on me when i came home and wouldnt give me a job cause they insisted i was a sick junky....ofcorse i was not then nor ever
    was a bad person in any way....but i had to suffer and hide like a lepper.....i love my country and my combat awards list but i cry with
    my wife for all my suffering and pain that continues on and on....God bless america !

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  6. VA denied my claim for Renal Cell Carcinoma after my surgeon doctor gave a letter saying that there is an association between Agent Orange and Renal Cell Carcinoma. I spend a year in that hell hole and this is what the goverment does to you.

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  7. AGENT ORANGE RULES.......a VIETNAM VETERAN WITH ONE OF THE NEW PRESUMPTIVE DISEASES IHD OR CAD BEING ONE MAJOR ISSUE AND WHO HAD A DENIED CLAIM IN THE EARLY 2001 TO 2009 .ACCORDING TO THE NEW RULES BY LAW .MAY GET AN AXTRA YEAR OF COMP IF THIER ARMY RECORDS SHOW THEY HAD THE PRESUMPTIVE
    DIEASE YEARS EARLIER THAN THE DENIED CLAIM. CORONARY BYPASS SURGERY DO TO AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE IS A MAJOR PLUS FACTOR IN AO CLAIMS NOW
    LEGALY PRESUMPTIVE......I HOPE VETS CAN GET TO ENJOY FOR A TIME AFTER 40 YEARS OF SUFFERING .THE SO CALLED EARNED BENEFITS HANDED DOWN BY PRESIDENT aBE lINCOLN FROM ILLINOIS..HE WAS OFCORSE KNOWN AS HONEST ABE...WE NEED MORE
    HONEST ABE LINCOLNS IN PRESENT DAY POLITICS AND MOSTLY IN THE VA ADMINITRATION....

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  8. I have a question that I need help with. I received a letter regarding the Agent Orange claim because my father filed a claim with VA in 1985 since he was 100% disabled from heart issues. The 1985 claim was denied but he was given a one time payment of $600.00. My father also received a rating of 100% disabled by the VA in the same year. Will they still be paying backpay for the heart condition that was just added to the Agent Orange list? Will it be backdated to 1985?

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  9. I have the same question and I wish someone would answer. My husband was awarded money and was 100% will they be paying backpay.

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  10. To anonymous. Your question is confusing. You said his claim was denied, but given a one time payment of $600.00 and the received a rating of 100% the same year. Before your questions can be answered: what was the $600.00 payment for? What condition was denied in 1985? What did the decision say that granted him a 100% evaluation? It sounds like he may have been granted service connection for other conditions but denied for his heart condition. Try and find the rating decision issued by the VA. Having this information will help answer your questions

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  11. This is in response to the posting on November 1 2010- My mother said that he applied for disability in 1987 regarding the heart condition and was denied. I did receive a back pay of disabilty regarding metal health in September 2002 and passed away October 2002 (so he did not get to see any of that money). My mom also said the $600.00 payment was made to veterans who had came into contact with agent orange and was not associated with his heart. So basically my father filed for disabilty related to heart conditions in 1987 when he had his first heart attack and they said it was denied because it was not linked to the agent orange. I really hop he does get backpay because I would love to honor him by giving help to other disabled veterans in his name.

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  12. My father has been falling apart for years! He served his country and they can not give him a hundred percent disability! If the state can give him a hundred percent disability why can't the VA! He served in Veitnam! Suffered because of Agent Orange, and only has sixty percent disability! Fybromyalgia should be on the dam list! A chemical that attacked the nervous system, my father has this in eighteen points of his body. It can't get any worse! Pregnant women gets this crap not men! and now all these men who have served in Veitnam is now getting it! Shit Take care of the men and women who fought for this country. Stop screwing them over. Fighting a new claim that just came out 2010. Lets see if he gets full disability from heart disease!

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  13. I have 3 of the diseases from agent orange: diabetes, heart disease, and neuropathy. Plus I'm 100% post traumatic stress, plus I have 20% hearing disability. I'm a former Marine Riffle man. I've been on a roller coaster ride with the VA since 1968 and no one seems to have an answer for anything. If they think that I'll be satisfied with 6,000 dollars, they have it all wrong. I'll hire a lawyer. They just cant get it right for the veteran. God Bless America

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  14. I have been informed by the VA that a claim was filed for coronary artery bypass, however, the claim was filed on May 24 and I received notification late in October. Now I wonder if they are going to deny the claim or not. This is ridiculous.I think I need a drink

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  15. Im a 4th Divison Combat Fire Team Leader from 1966 to 1968...i watched the planes spraying the light brown Agent Orange Dioxin overhead in the 120 Degree hot vietnam jungle.I came home with jungle rot all over my legs that wouldnt heal for years.I was never given a dime by VA who told me back then We cn vure your cloreacne disease from war and we lost your records.I was on my own suffering that and GERD and Coronary
    artery disease and bad PTSD ,and hearing loss with evere TINNITUS,from firing my over nd under m 79 granade launcher M 16 etc .In 2002 i ubderwent 4 bypass surgery for CAD,i suffered
    pains and irregulat heart beats for 40 yers since the war.Im waiting a year to find out wht happens to my 2005 denial for CAD disease now presumptive under the Nehmer class LAW.Recently
    i got sick vometing for 2 weeks not knowing what
    was wrong with me..I wound up at my saini Hospital in new york for a 12 hour stomach
    surgery.iI ws close to death..I was told my stomach detatched and fell then twisted and shot
    up into my esophogus....i could not eat or drink
    and was dying fast....I got lucky with the surgery but ended up now from all the surgical tubes do my throat,with a GRANULOMA ball on my
    vocal cord..i cant speak as it would get bigger
    and stop my breathing....my next step will be
    vocal cord surgery at some point in time pretty
    soon....i am paying big dollars on charge cards
    to pay my med bills and meds...i am waiting to hear from VA on my heart disease case from 2005 .
    In the mean time im going slowly broke from all the illnesses.....my wife attributes all the illnesses to agent orange dioxin poisoning from combat in NAM....i was also diasgnosed with bad artheritis thats taking over my body ...ive lost 40 lbs and still suffer bone loss and pain ..i ws 5 feet 11 inches tall my doc said i am now 5 ft 7 and lost 4 inches .Bt the way when they
    fixed my collapsed stomach the surgiions worked to also correct an old hiatal Hernia from GERD.
    Can anyone tell me Besides my old HEART issues on my VA records and GERD and all on my records
    am i entitled to and other earned medical or comp from the other diseases hitting me so hard
    nd fast now ....thanks

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  16. You are intiled if your diseases falls under the claims providing by the VA! I know this because my father is going through this now! My father got 60 percent disability from diabeties 2 which is now linked to Agent Orange and the Diaibeties is now link to Heart Disease! He is now fighting for the New claim that just came out! Heart Disease! Fill out the claims you disease falls under! You will have to provide them your Medical records and have to prove you were in Veitnam. You will have to see their doctors. If they still deny you I would hire an attorney to help your case along! I say this, You fought for your country just like my father, now it's time to fight for yourself! Fill out the claims, see if you qualify and if they turn you down fight nasty! Get yourself an attorney! Good luck! I hope this helps!

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  17. 1967-1969 I served in Vietnam. I am now 100% disabled from heart problems and 2 strokes. I filed a claimed but have heard nothing. I know that that it does no good to bitch so i'll see you all in hell i guess. SGT< USMC

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  18. MY COMMENTS ARE SIMPLE..I,VE APPLIED FOR AGENT ORANGE TWICE .mY LATEST CLAIM IS FOR HEART DISEASE RELATED TO AGENT ORANGE.I SERVED IN VIET NAM 2 TOURS OF DUTY AND RETIRED FROM THE ARMY FEB.28,1986...AM I WASITING MY TIME FILING A CLAIM FIRST OF ALL....AND ,IF MY CLAIM IS HONORED,WILL I SEE COMPENSATION WITHIN MY LIFETIME?

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  19. has anyone received compensation for ischemic heart disease,if so what was the rating

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    1. rated 30% for CAD but totaling 100% due to others Diabetes loss of limbs etc. however when and how much monies are we talking is it worth all this headache? I got the rating decision this week, mine is an Estate my veteran died in 2003, no monies yet and does anyone know how do they pay? By that I mean is there a formula for Diabetes, CAD, Cancer,etc. or is it by their Classification/Pension when retired mine was a 20 year army guy. The first page of my rating decision letter was DO YOU WANT TO APPEAL YOU HAVE 60 DAYS? Now how would I know if I don't see the dollars to know if I feel it justifies why he died?

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  20. I am surviving spouse of a member of the 307 STRAT WG 1968-1971. He was 47 when diagnosed w/ 2 VA approved AO connected Non Hodgkins Lymphoma & Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia & passed @ the age of 49 leaving me our 2 children to raise. At the time it was suggested that I call VA to see if there was connection, told no. Just filed claim a few months ago.
    Am having a hard time trying to prove feet on the ground. He has a patch "ARC LIGHT" on his flying suit.
    Any suggestions on how to get travel vouchers, morning reports,Info from "sensitive" reports that would have placed him in the country. Like most of you he had the 2 Viet service medal/w bronze star. HELP ?

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  21. My father died of cancer from this agent orange the gov not understand how this affects people lives i give anything to have my father back so i hope they dont give people a hard time because we already been through eough. my dad been dead for aleast 20 years, if they only knew what we saw the worst thing in life is watching someone you love die right in front of you i hpoe no one elise has to go through what my family and i had to go through.

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  22. Find his dd214 have the infor. for you too file call the DVA for Help Aloha Good Luck 100% PDSD IU Joseph

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  23. Why do I feel like Im the only Vietnam Vet left that doesn,t know what percentage I will receive from agent orange...I understand that things take time but this is the 2nd time I had applied and as of yet nothing about what percentage I will receive ,or even if the claim is being honored..I have evidence from my heart surgeon,family physician and other doctors involved with my back surgery & hip surgery and yet I haven,t heard a thing back from VA.Is there a number that I can call directly to find out what percentage I will receive.And all daministration on my dowble by-pass surgery had been submited also.

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    1. They are waiting for us to die off.

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  24. i am 100%ptsd also will quatify for ischemic heart disease since 1992 will backpay from heart disease stop because i am already 100% for ptsd

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  25. I was soaked in chemicals (fuels and trichloroethylene, but never was in vietnam.. yet I was denied (though I have many diseases and was hospitalized on active duty for the chemicals and the illnesses they caused me on active duty,, and as a civilain have been fighting for my life in hospital beds (up to 6 months in a hospital bed with pancreas disease) and my bed for 20 years

    I don't see how people who hever had a drop of chemical on them can get settlements when people like me who were soaked in chemicals for years on active duty have to go through so many appeals..

    I want equal treatment for everyone,,, it seems some people are more equal than others..

    The VA claims and appeals process it' deny deny until they die,, just wait and wait with appeals and hearings while th eyears roll by...

    dirty bastages running the VA..

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  26. where are the answers to these questions ?

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  27. i am a widow of a vietnam vet who died in 1982 from coronary disease. he had a non service pension in 1981 .i was never told i could draw any widows benefits i did not know too i filed a claim for dic 1-31-2011 for the ihd od death any one have any advice for me.

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  28. It looks like most claims are not successful..? I filed a claim in June, 2011 and continue to receive letters from the VA saying (paraphrasing) "we have your claim but we aren't doing anything with it...yet". Is this typical? I served in Viet Nam 1966-67. I am the first member of my family to have not only diabetes but heart disease including a 5-way open heart bypass 5 years ago. I had to retire early with no pension or social security as I was only 60 years old. How long can I expect the VA to stall my claim. I thought they were supposed to fast track claims for IHD!

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  29. I had quadruple heart by pass surgery in 1997. I only received 10 percent disability for that. How is that possible, your life has to totally change and you only get 10 percent, something is wrong with this picture, I was in Viet Nam in 1967-68. I also have Type 2 diabetes which I get 20 percent disability.
    Do you think it will do any good to protest the 10 percent amount of disability?

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  30. WAS TURNED DOWN FOR NEHMER BECAUSE HUSBAND WAS NOT DIAGNOSED WITH HEART DISEASE. HE DIED OF MASSIVE HEART ATTACK AT AGE 54. HAD FOUGHT FOR HIS SMALL PTSD PENSION FOR YEARS AND REFUSED TO GO AFTER ANYTHING ELSE SAID IT WAS TOO STRESSFUL. HE WOULD SAY GEE SORRY I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO FILE A CLAIM!!

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  31. MAY 28, 2012

    I SERVED DURING THE VIETNAM ERA IN KOREA ON THE DMZ AND JUST FILED CLAIM NOV. 9..AFTER READING ALL THESE VETS COMMENTS I STILL BELIEVE THE US GOVT IS STILL COVERING WHAT WAS REALLY GOING ON THERE..I HAD MANY FRIENDS WHO SERVED AND WHEN THEY CAME BACK, MANY NEVER THE MENTALLY..I REMEMBER I WAS IN ASCOM I WAS WONDERING WHY ALL THE MOUNTAINS WERE BARON AND NO VEGETATION AND SEEMED VERY STRANGE.....I KNOW NOW CAUSE THE COVER IT UP...I IN THE 2ND INF DIV AND AVATION MEDIVAC AND THE HILLS MOUNTAINS THE SAME....GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF US

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  32. i have been denied for years... i have medical records all the way back in Nam 68/69 seeing a doc for skin rashes on my body and else where...applied for PTSD right after got out for PTSD and agent orange also hearing problems...deny, deny and hope i die..not me DAV in 2010 applied for me due to my heart and PTSD and imagine I have it all must of got it over night..HA...so I got 60% there math 50% tired of messin around got an attorney so wish me luck...dont stop trying they want you to go away or die....

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  33. I was just diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma and had a partial nephrectomy at St Louis VA to remove a tumor from my left kidney. I'm a Marine Vietnam veteran who served all over I Corps with 3rd Amtrac Battalion in 1969. The VA has done a study at Shreveport VAMC where they found a connection between kidney cancer and Agent Orange and have even awarded a claim for it to one veteran.

    http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Kidney+and+Bladder+Cancer/AUA-2011-Agent-Orange-found-linked-to-kidney-cance/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/722892?contextCategoryId=40182&ref=25

    http://www.va.gov/vetapp05/files2/0509244.txt

    We've started a Facebook page called "Agent Orange and Kidney Cancer in Vietnam veterans" where we can all meet and cooperate in presenting a case for presumptive status for Agent Orange service connection. I would like to expand this possibly into a starting a registry where Vietnam Veterans can register all cancers so that we can potentially determine if there are other types that also need further study.

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    1. I to had a partial nephrectomy (May 1998) I served in II, III, and IV Corps areas. My claim was denied and I am now waiting on an appeal. Original claim filed in 2010. Since that filing I have now developed another related illness Peripheral Neuropathy.

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  34. Think the idea of a registry is great for renal cancer Vets. Would definitely be a part of it. My claim has been in for plus 10 years. My right kidney was removed in 1992. I served in VietNam in 1967-68 Marine Corps 3rd Marine Division near the DMZ.

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  35. My father has recently filed a claim. He has had Parkinson's for 13 years, has ischemic heart disease and Waldenstrom's disease (b cell, non hodgkins lymphoma). We currently are being treated at Mayo clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. They are having us travel to Gainesville for a medical evaluation. We have no idea what to expect. The Parkinson's is obvious but the others are proven by invasive tests and bone marrow biopsy. How much more can this 80 year old man take?

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  36. hello my name is heather my father was in vet he surved his country and a couple purple hearts, he also was expose to agent orange. He has passed on 2011 of health related issues, diabtic, nerve damage, swelling,high blood pressure, heart problem,and also depression. I was born with health in 72 with holes in my ear drums,and also had stomach problems, under weight as a child sick alot with ear problems, couldnt speak had to go to special ed at 3 years old and then learned to speak finally after i was 7 said my first real word. i caught on pretty quick after that but was sick alot. As a adult i had issues with my back,cyst, irregular heart beat now, epidural lipomatotis, nerve root problems i have all these fatty lipomas growing throw out my body, sometimes i cant't get up walk i shakey alot but not for sure if my health issues are lead up to my fathers. But i have cyst grown into a mass effect on left side of head, and now have fluid on the left side of my brain. So really confused on my issues but my father never received anything and passed on so hopefully they will be able to pay something towards my father passing and suffering also. And somebody give me some answers about me i am my dads first born.

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  37. you are all in my thoughts and prayers. my dad passed away June 15, 2013 he fought a long hard battle in Vietnam and then for the rest of his life! He had cervical neuropathy and other neuropathies too many to list! He ended up getting prostate cancer my dad suffered so much and it is so maddening that our government does this to people! my dady spent his last 2.5 months of his life in a va hospital facility because they sent him home septic! iḿ so damn angry right now.... why do they treat our soldiers like this? my dads quality of life was awful for his last 12-14 yrs of life because he couldnt do anything on his own! he was bed ridden and he was not a lazy man he loved outdoors and working hard but that was taken from him by our government by exposing him to the chemicals they did and he has denial after denial after denial letter in his files by the people he agreed to fight for! one thing that brought a smile to my face was a note he wrote on one of his denials and it said ¨i will never give up i will keep fighting, i may not be here in the end but i owe you a visit¨ I chuckle knowing that if its possible for him to come back and pay these government people that send these letters a visit as a ghost or spirit a visit... he for darn sure will be doing so and i know he is very determined and will make their lives living hell for all the bs denial letters they sent out to him! i will believe that he is able to do this as it is the only thing that makes me feel somewhat ok : / There is no amount of money that will make losing my dad ok and nothing that will bring him back but i dont want my mom to lose her house and not be able to pay her bills! my mother deserves to get payment for agent orange exposure that my dad has been fighting for she even gets the rash he would get not to mention that she lost her husband way too soon and i hope and pray she doesn´t die of a broken heart. again I pray for you all to get what you deserve from our government. Take care and god bless

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    1. I also suffer from neuropathy. When I applied for benefits as a Vietnam Vet, I was denied, then I had a heart attach, my benefits were granted on May 23, 2008, the day after my heart attach. They even tried to claim this to my congressman. I called they lady who said they recognized me as a Vietnam Vet on May 23, 2008, and said I now understand why we didn't win. The VC recognized me years ago. Good luck and best wishes to your mother.

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