03 October 2014

DOD Agency Confirms C-123 Vets' Agent Orange Exposures

Development: Beginning May 2014, the Army's Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) began submitting official confirmation of C-123 veterans' Agent Orange exposure evidence to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a big deal...this should be a game-changer.

That is, if the VBA will permit claims adjudicators to follow VA's own regulations per VA 21-1MR.

Up to now, JSRRC responded to VA inquiries about aircrew and maintenance veterans with an inconclusive, "no records found to substantiate veteran's exposure claim." VA's manual "has the force of law," according to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. JSRRC's military archivists in Fort Belvoir, Virginia research official documentation to help confirm or deny PTSD and exposure situations for all services except the US Marines...including C-123 post-Vietnam claims. JSRRC's empty response satisfied VBA's objective of preventing C-123 veterans' claims. The JSRRC answer, since May, has not been empty any longer...it is instead the final YES answer veterans were seeking!

Thus, because VA21-MR directs claims adjudicators to inquire with JSRRC to get an official thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Provider aircrews and maintainers, the recent JSRRC action means the final hurdle should have been resolved.

Problem: VA regional offices are postponing decisions on C-123 claims, for some reason waiting for the Institute of Medicine C-123 report to come out. We can only hope that repeated official promises, detailed earlier on this blog,  of "case by case" evaluations continuing are honored.

Action:  We think its time for Post Deployment Health to set aside that department's agenda and follow the law, VA 21-1MR, the US Constitution, and the many Federal Register statements that all veterans establishing proof of Agent Orange (herbicide, military herbicide, call it whatever) will have recognized Agent Orange illnesses cared for.

Let us into the hospital, please.

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