13 March 2013

New Hampshire C-123 Veteran's Claim Denied

On February 28, 2013, celebrating the anniversary of the ending of the first Gulf War, the Manchester (NH) Department of Veterans Affairs denied a Westover C-123 veteran's claim for Agent Orange exposure. The claim was presented by the New Hampshire State Veterans Council.

Key point: the denial reads "Although you submitted numerous amounts of evidence to support your claim, VA regulations do not allow us to concede exposure to herbicides for Veterans who claim they were exposed to herbicides after the Vietnam war while flying in aircraft used to spray these chemicals." Wow...a whole regulation prohibiting justice for C-123 veterans! Guess these RO experts don't bother reading Title 38 too closely. Wonder where we can read this mysterious "regulation?" Actually, the law and CFRs provide that veterans exposed to military herbicides need only evidence their factual exposure to then seek service connection for Agent Orange-presumptive illnesses. As has been demonstrated in the nearby Boston BVA.

This veteran's inclusion of supporting opinions from EPA, NIH, CDC, Columbia University School of Public Health, Oregon Health Sciences University, University of Texas Medical School and other experts only brought the VA's summary "there is no basis in available evidence of record" to dismiss the science which otherwise so clearly proved his case.

Here's the amusing element: "Every attempt was made to verify your exposure to herbicides. However, we were unable to verify your exposure." Right.

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