Below is a summary for the article : Many Vietnam vets unaware of compensation available for exposure to Agent Orange, advocates say by Daily Hampshire Gazette
Thanks to the Agent Orange Act of 1991 passed by Congress, if a veteran spent even one day on the ground in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, he or she may be eligible for benefits related to Agent Orange-related illnesses.
Some 3 million men and women served the U.S. military in Southeast Asia, and no one is sure exactly how many were exposed to the herbicide, according to Vietnam Veterans of America.
Funds are distributed depending on the severity of a veteran’s illness.
Someone with a controlled case of diabetes might receive no money, but a veteran who loses mobility due to nerve damage caused by diabetes could get about $3,000 per month, which is at the top of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ range for disability payments, said Timothy Niejadlik, the director of the Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services District in Greenfield.
Benefits also are calculated according to a veteran’s dependents.
The Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services, a resource center on Main Street in Greenfield, will hold a town hall meeting open to all veterans throughout New England Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Greenfield Community College.
To apply for benefits, veterans can fill out an application on the VA’s website and must submit supporting evidence from their doctors.
Another Vietnam veteran John “Rob” Riggan, 73, of Buckland, who was diagnosed five years ago with prostate cancer, never had made the connection to his military service until he saw the Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services District flier on the wall at the post office in Shelburne Falls.
Since cases sometimes get backed up at the VA, some veterans find that it can take a long time to get a response, said Niejadlik, but they should be persistent.
“Even if the veterans have passed, even the spouse should come in because they could get a nugget,” he said.