Under current law, veterans stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War must prove they were exposed to herbicides if they decide to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs for illnesses related to the harmful chemicals. The veterans are responsible to prove their toxic exposure, versus the presumption of service connection for Agent Orange related diseases for veterans who served in Vietnam.
VA’s manual does acknowledge herbicide exposure for specific military occupational specialties on the perimeter of eight specific Thai Royal Air Force Bases.
To rectify discrepancies, Senators John Boozman and Joe Donelly introduced S. 2105, a bill that would concede herbicide exposure to all veterans who served at any military installation in Thailand during the Vietnam era for purposes of determining their eligibility for VA benefits.
DAV Resolution Number 214 calls for Congress to support legislation to provide presumptive service connection for illnesses and diseases related to herbicide exposure in veterans who were stationed at air bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
“The presumptive diseases currently associated with herbicide exposure, to include spina bifida for children, would be applicable to all veterans who served at military installations in Thailand during the Vietnam era if this legislation is enacted,” said DAV National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “Currently, the burden of proof is on the veteran. But this bill—which DAV supports—would allow any veteran stationed at any military installation during the time to qualify for the benefits they deserve.”