Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vietnam vets, Widows Face Filing Deadline

Deerfield Review, A Chicago Sun-Time Publication
August 2, 2011 12:46PM

Updated: August 2, 2011 9:16PM

In order to avoid losing thousands of dollars, Vietnam veterans who have an existing medical diagnosis in three new “presumptive diseases” to file claims before Aug. 30.

The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County, IL notes that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs refers to “presumptive diseases” as certain cancers and other health problems related to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

The three new diseases are: Ischemic heart disease, hairy cell and other B-cell leukemias, and Parkinson’s disease.

Qualifying veterans who file before the Aug. 30 deadline are eligible to receive up to one year of retroactive benefits. They should contact the VAC at (847) 377-3344 to make an appointment or e-mail The office is located at 20 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Waukegan. VAC reminds veterans to bring their Military Discharge, DD Form 214.

Mike Peck, VAC superintendent, said, “We strongly recommend that veterans and their widows use a VA-certified Veterans Service Officer through our office. Officers will ensure proper tracking of their claim and can provide representation through the process.”

Additionally, if a Vietnam veteran died from a heart attack, the spouse may qualify for benefits because the death may be due to their husband’s exposure to Agent Orange and a disability of Ischemic heart disease. Qualifying widows should file for “Dependent Indemnity Compensation” with the VAC before the Aug. 30 deadline.

The U.S. VA has said it will streamline claims for presumptive diseases through its “Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System.”

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