13 June 2012

Official: VA Begins Denying Veterans' C-123 Agent Orange Claims!

June 12 - A C-123K veteran just received the VA's denial of his Agent Orange disability claim! Every ailment specified was denied with the identical wording in lockstep with the VA's Public Health posting:

"--The evidence does not show an event, disease or injury in service
 --We did not find a link between your medical condition and military service
 --The evidence does not show the location(s) of your military service, or the events you experienced therein, qualify for the presumption of service connection for your disease"

The explanation in each ailment denial was also identical, and word-for-word in line with the VA's published C-123 Agent Orange exposure denial as penned by VHA for their SOT poster display:

"We are unable to verify or document that aircrew members were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting from Agent Orange residue or dioxin contaminated aircraft or aircraft parts. Although residual TCDD, the toxic substance in Agent Orange, may be detected in C-123 aircraft by sophisticated laboratory techniques many years after its use, the Office of Public Health concluded that the existing scientific studies and reports support a low probability that TCDD was biologically available in these aircraft. Therefore, the potential for exposure to TCDD from flying or working in contaminated C-123 aircraft years after the Vietnam War is unlikely to have occurred at levels that could affect health."

So much for the VA's promise that "every C-123 veteran's claim will be considered individually." Despite the opinion of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that exposure was likely, despite supporting opinions of four highly esteemed PhD's, despite support from the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America, despite their own common sense. The VA's the Portland Veterans Service Manager, timid K. Kalama, caved to political pressure and weird science to dash our hopes of justice.  The VA's "duty to assist" seems to have been restricted to providing me the address to send the claim to, and the mailing back of their denial after more than a year of "careful" consideration. 

Next step, an appeal and then the Board of Veterans Appeals, and finally federal courts. We will not let this rest!
    Wes Carter

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