AP Enterprise: Despite murky tie to Agent Orange, diabetes now top disability for Vietnam vets

By Mike Baker, AP
Monday, August 30, 2010

Diabetes now Vietnam vets’ top Agent Orange claim

RALEIGH, N.C. — Vietnam veterans may soon get disability compensation for heart disease because of concerns about the defoliant Agent Orange.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it will add heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and certain types of leukemia to the list of conditions veterans can claim is tied to Agent Orange. That list is topped by diabetes.

The agency estimates that the proposed changes will cost $42 billion over the next 10 years as Vietnam vets get older. The rule will go into effect in two months unless Congress steps in.

Veterans only need to prove that they were in Vietnam when Agent Orange was used to kill jungle foliage and later got one of the illnesses possibly linked to it. The VA already compensates for some types of cancer and diabetes.

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