Diabetes from Agent Orange Exposure in Vietnam
Almost everyone is familiar with the herbicide Agent Orange that was used in Vietnam. Agent Orange was sprayed across Vietnam. The chemicals used in Agent Orange are toxic. VA has acknowledged that exposure to those chemicals increases the risk of developing many different diseases even decades after the exposure.
Dangers of Type 2 Diabetes
One of the diseases caused by Agent Orange exposure is Type 2 diabetes (also known as Type 2 diabetes mellitus). People suffering from Type 2 diabetes cannot adequately process the sugar in their blood. Without proper treatment, people suffering from Type 2 diabetes will likely suffer damage to their eyes, kidneys, and hearts.
Because of special rules put in place by VA, veterans who served in Vietnam are almost always presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange during their service. If a Vietnam veteran develops Type 2 diabetes, VA should also presume that the diabetes was caused by this exposure to Agent Orange. If you are a Vietnam veteran who develops Type 2 diabetes, you should file a claim for disability benefits with VA for your diabetes.
Service-connection for Type 2 diabetes from Agent Orange exposure
Since Type 2 diabetes is on the list of conditions that are presumed to have been caused by Agent Orange, VA should determine that your Type 2 diabetes is a service-connected disability. If they do not, then you are probably going to need to file a notice of disagreement to appeal your denial of service connection. If VA grants service connection, they should issue a rating decision giving VA’s opinion on the amount of your disability.
How is the disability rating for diabetes calculated?
The disability rating given by VA in the rating decision should depend on the severity of your Type 2 diabetes. VA uses ratings tables published in the Code of Federal Regulations to rate medical conditions. Diabetes is rated using code “7913 Diabetes mellitus.” The table below shows the different percentage disability ratings and the symptoms associated with each rating:
|Requiring more than one daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities (avoidance of strenuous occupational and recreational activities) with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring at least three hospitalizations per year or weekly visits to a diabetic care provider, plus either progressive loss of weight and strength or complications that would be compensable if separately evaluated||100|
|Requiring insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring one or two hospitalizations per year or twice a month visits to a diabetic care provider, plus complications that would not be compensable if separately evaluated||60|
|Requiring insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities||40|
|Requiring insulin and restricted diet, or; oral hypoglycemic agent and restricted diet||20|
|Manageable by restricted diet only||10|
It is important to remember that you may be entitled to a rating even higher than what is contained in the above table if you have certain complications of diabetes that are to be rated separately according to the regulations.
What if the rating decision is incorrect?
Diabetes is just one of the many diseases that are presumed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. If you have any questions about filing or appealing a claim for a disability resulting from Agent Orange exposure, talking to an attorney may be helpful to you.
You can set up a free veterans disability consultation with our office to get more information about how we can help. To find out more about what a free consultation is and how it works, just read this article that explains the process.
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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