Health Conditions that May Be Associated with exposure to Agent Orange

Service members understand that exposure to hazardous conditions and risks are a part of their job.  They understand that as part of their service they may be required to serve overseas and or in areas that can pose a significant threat to their wellbeing and health. Therefore, both men and women serving may be exposed to hazards at military bases they are deployed at and call home, even for a short period. As a result of these exposures – which may involve certain hazardous chemicals and materials – many veterans have developed serious health problems. These health conditions that veterans suffer from may take years, or even decades to develop as the symptoms are not always immediate. Regardless, veterans deserve compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for the medical problems they suffer and injuries sustained while serving.

Exposure to Agent Orange is an ongoing problem for veterans, which is why Senators are pushing to add bladder cancer to the VA’S list of conditions linked to the herbicide exposure in Vietnam and elsewhere. Our attorneys continue to advocate for reform and better treatment for our veterans. Even if bladder cancer, or other conditions, are not considered directly related to Agent Orange on the list of presumptive conditions, we have been successful in helping our veteran clients with winning their claim for service-connected disability benefits based on their exposures while serving causing bladder cancer and other conditions.

What is Agent Orange?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Agent Orange is a tactical herbicide used by the U.S. military to control Vietnam’s vegetation. It is a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1962 to 1971 in the Vietnam War that is commonly used in removing trees and dense tropical foliage. The chemical was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense to be used explicitly in combat operations. Unfortunately, many veterans have varying levels of Agent Orange in their system from exposure during deployment which can create long-term disabilities and health problems.

Exposure to Agent Orange at Military Bases

The Department of Defense sprayed various herbicides across 4.5 million acres of Vietnam to destroy both forest covers and food crops used by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. Aircrafts were deployed to spray roads, rivers, canals, and farmland with the dangerous mixture of Agent Orange causing crops and water sources to hit. Dioxin is a chemical compound that lasts for many years in soil, lakes, and rivers.

Service members were exposed to Agent Orange because of the contaminated forest and soil. Human exposure to the chemical has also been found through meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange throughout their time in service during the Vietnam War.

An on-going push from Senators urges the National Defense Authorization Act to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the VA’s list of conditions linked to the herbicide. It has been determined that thousands of military personnel have suffered serious health problems from exposure to Agent Orange, even causing long term health issues in veterans and family members.

Health Issues and Illnesses Related to Agent Orange

Veterans and service members exposed to Agent Orange can experience a wide-variety of different health problems associated with the herbicide. The EPA and World Health Organization are continuing to learn how exposure to Agent Orange can impact one’s health. The likelihood that Orange Agent exposure may cause health problems is greater than not. Thirty four thousand and counting frustrated and desperate veterans suffer from numerous health conditions, even including bladder cancer, other types of cancers, and other debilitating health problems like diabetes and heart conditions to name a few.

Some studies suggest that exposure to Agent Orange could be a factor in developing certain health conditions including:

  • AL Amyloidosis
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemia
  • Chloracne
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, Early- Onset
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Respiratory Cancers
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas

The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs continue to claim that the medical and scientific evidence to support that exposure to Agent Orange could result in health concerns like those above is indefinite. Thousands of veterans and service members have bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism because of their military service, yet the VA continues to deny the care and benefits they earned.

Regrettably, far too many veterans and service members continue to endure health issuess caused by Agent Orange while the VA claims that they continue to wait for study results and push back on the scientific data and research correlating bladder cancer and other conditions to Agent Orange exposure. The House and Senate continue their fight for veterans suffering and even dying from Agent Orange related conditions until the bill adds bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the list of presumptive conditions.

Contact Disability Law Group for More Information About VA Disability Claims

If you are fighting for VA disability benefits, the attorneys at Disability Law Group are here to help you. Contact our Michigan disability attorneys for a free case review. We fight for the rights of our veterans to receive the disability benefits they deserve, and disability is all that we do. Our attorneys have decades of experience specializing strictly in disability law, and our client testimonials reflect our demonstrated success and compassion. Call us today for your free consultation.

Erika Riggs Inducted into Marquis Who’s Who of American Women

TROY, MI, May 06, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to honor Erika Riggs as a Woman of Influence. An accomplished listee, Mrs. Riggs celebrates many years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Mrs. Riggs is renowned as an attorney with more than a decade of expertise in disability law. Driven by a desire to help others and make a positive impact on the world, she decided that she wanted to pursue a career in law despite being the first in her family to do so. Mrs. Riggs subsequently pursued an education at Wayne State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in 2008 before graduating with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2011.

While enrolled as a law student, Mrs. Riggs began her career as a research and teaching assistant at Wayne State University, and completed a clerkship in the Detroit Immigration Court in 2010. She was selected to contribute to Wayne State University’s immigration and asylum law clinic, for which she served as a student lawyer representing refugee asylum-seekers from 2010 to 2011. During her last year in law school, Mrs. Riggs discovered disability law, recognizing immediately that she had found her niche where she could specialize in a field representing vulnerable populations in great need of support.

Since 2011, Mrs. Riggs has excelled as a skilled and compassionate disability attorney in Michigan, proudly protecting the rights of the disabled while helping them obtain the benefits they deserve and desperately need. In January of 2019, she helped form a boutique disability law firm, Disability Law Group, alongside her partners, Mandy Kelly and Randall Mansour. Mrs. Riggs is accredited to practice law before the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and specializes in Social Security and Veterans disability cases. Additionally, Mrs. Riggs is extremely active in community initiatives, and dedicates her time to free legal resource clinics as well as volunteering with non-profit organizations like Southwest Solutions and Covenant House.

Notably, Mrs. Riggs is the recipient of the first Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Law Award. She was further recognized among Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars in 2020 for the third consecutive year, a distinction awarded to less than 2.5% of practicing attorneys. She is also a council member of the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Mrs. Riggs attributes her success to the support and dedication of her family, partners and community, and hopes to continue serving disabled clients for years to come.

About Marquis Who’s Who®

Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who’s Who in America®, Marquis Who’s Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who’s Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who’s Who titles, including Who’s Who in America®, Who’s Who in the World®, Who’s Who in American Law®, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who’s Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who’s Who® website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.

Attorney Mandy Kelly of Disability Law Group Co-Hosts Webinar on VA Benefits on May 21st

Troy, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 5, 2020 – On Thursday, May 21st, Mandy Kelly, partner of Disability Law Group, is co-hosting a webinar with attorney Michele Fuller of Michigan Law Center. The webinar promises to be immensely helpful to veterans looking to create or improve their estate plans in order to best protect their assets and their loved ones. Mandy’s subjects are of primary concern to veterans, especially during these challenging times, including types of VA benefits available, such as VA service connection disability benefits and non-service connection pensions.

This is an excellent workshop for United States veterans, designed to meet the need for vital information and to answer questions and concerns. The workshops topics include:

  • Types of Veteran Benefits Available
  • How to Establish an Estate Plan
  • Common Estate Planning Mistakes
  •  Ensuring Safety for Veterans and their Loved Ones

Mandy’s co-host for the webinar is Michele Fuller of Michigan Law Center. As a team of excellent attorneys, they look forward to educating veterans on available options and resources open to them as they plan their futures.

Mandy Kelly’s credentials demonstrate her dedication to veterans’ rights. Earlier in her career, she worked for Project SALUTE, assisting low-income veterans in obtaining the military compensation and pension benefits they deserve. She has also spent time training attorneys from other firms on how to best represent veterans.

Interested in joining this free webinar? Just follow the link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5980977524036273419

At present, as a lead attorney of the esteemed practice of Disability Law Group, she fights for veterans’ rights to disability benefits from VA and the Social Security Administration on a daily basis. Recognized as a top 10 best attorney by the American Institute of Legal Counsel, her advice and guidance should prove invaluable to those attending the upcoming webinar.

Justice for Blue Water Navy Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange

US Navy Officer Sitting In Wheelchair Reading Document.

On January 29, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court issued a reversal in what has proven to be one of the most contentious areas of veterans’ disability benefits in decades. With this decision comes dramatic changes in how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs addresses service-connected disability benefits claims arising from Agent Orange exposure. During the Vietnam War, there was widespread use of Agent Orange in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the devastating, and even deadly, effects from Agent Orange – an herbicide contained dioxin – is now well known for veterans suffering symptoms linked to Agent Orange years later. In fact, studies correlate the harmful effects of Agent Orange to exposed veterans’ children and even their grand-children.

With the Agent Orange Act of 1991 came 38 U.S.C. § 1116, allowing veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam who develop certain health issues a presumption of Agent Orange exposure and that such exposure caused their condition or illness. Some of the presumptive conditions include prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, chronic B-cell leukemia’s, Hodgkin’s disease, ischemic heart disease, certain skin conditions, diabetes, and more. Therefore, some Vietnam-Era veterans have been able to obtain the service-connected disability benefits they deserve if they have a specified condition(s). However, this presumption has been strictly limited to those who meet the designated “boots on the ground” criteria. A decision, issued nearly 2 decades ago, cut-off benefits for our navy veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange at sea, providing benefits only to those veterans who were exposed on the ground.

However, the recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court reversed that decision. Mr. Procopio, a 73 year old veteran who suffers from diabetes and prostate cancer, served aboard the USS Intrepid during the Vietnam War. The Court’s decision found that Mr. Procopio, and other veterans who served at sea, are entitled to the same presumption that has been afforded to our “boots on the ground” veterans linking certain conditions to Agent Orange exposure.

Many veterans and supporters echo statements made by American Legion National Commander, Brett Reistad: “It doesn’t matter where you were exposed to Agent Orange when you served. It only matters that you were exposed when you served. To deny VA disability benefits for victims who were exposed at sea, and to provide benefits only to those veterans who were exposed on the ground, is a distinction based much more on budget than justice.”

This ruling is a monumental and well-deserved victory for our Blue Water Navy veterans, providing the tens of thousands of veterans like Mr. Procopio, the VA benefits they deserve. While this recent ruling may be challenged further with an appeal from the VA, legislation is now in front of Congress to lock in the presumptions of service-connected disability from Agent Orange exposure for our navy veterans. The ongoing fight and collective efforts of caring attorneys, schools and service organizations will ensure justice for our veterans who risked their lives to protect our freedoms.

If you or someone you know may be affected by Agent Orange exposure, contact our experienced attorneys to know what benefits you are rightfully owed. Even if you have been denied disability before, you may be entitled to back pay for all the years that you have been waiting. Disability Law Group specializes strictly in disability benefits before the VA and Social Security Administration. We will fight for you so that you can focus on your life and healing. Call us today for a free consultation. 800-VET-1100 or 800-838-1100.