Saturday, January 24, 2009

ATTN: Army Korean DMZ Vets from 1967-71

Recently we were in contact with a Veterans Advocate calling for expanded AO benefits for Veterans who served in Korea during the Vietnam War.

Currently the DVA pays Veterans who served in specific Army battalions on DMZ duty during 1968-69.

What we found was typical DVA carelessness. Just as they were hoist by their own petard in oral arguments in the Haas case at the Federal level in November 2006 on the NHL issue, now they have been hoist again upon their own petard regarding Veterans who served in Korea.

The Secretary made this law regarding the Army Veterans serving in the DMZ in 1968-69, after consultation with and documentation from the Department of Defense. So the Secretary changed DVA Policy to authorize benefits for these Veterans.

But Congress did something else, too. Title 38 includes language that authorizes the payment of benefits to the families of Vietnam veterans who's children are born with Spina Bifida. It also expanded these benefits in Chapter 18 to include the children of Veterans who served in Korea, in or near the DMZ, from September 1967 through August of 1971.

Here is that paragraph:

TITLE 38 > PART II > CHAPTER 18 > SUBCHAPTER III > § 1821
§ 1821. Benefits for children of certain Korea service veterans born with spina bifida
(a) Benefits Authorized.— The Secretary may provide to any child of a veteran of covered service in Korea who is suffering from spina bifida the health care, vocational training and rehabilitation, and monetary allowance required to be paid to a child of a Vietnam veteran who is suffering from spina bifida under subchapter I of this chapter as if such child of a veteran of covered service in Korea were a child of a Vietnam veteran who is suffering from spina bifida under such subchapter.
(b) Spina Bifida Conditions Covered.— This section applies with respect to all forms and manifestations of spina bifida, except spina bifida occulta.
(c) Veteran of Covered Service in Korea.— For purposes of this section, a veteran of covered service in Korea is any individual, without regard to the characterization of that individual’s service, who—
(1) served in the active military, naval, or air service in or near the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), as determined by the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, during the period beginning on September 1, 1967, and ending on August 31, 1971; and
(2) is determined by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to have been exposed to a herbicide agent during such service in or near the Korean demilitarized zone.
(d) Herbicide Agent.— For purposes of this section, the term “herbicide agent” means a chemical in a herbicide used in support of United States and allied military operations in or near the Korean demilitarized zone, as determined by the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, during the period beginning on September 1, 1967, and ending on August 31, 1971.
Now, if they pay Spina Bifida benefits for the children of Veterans who served in or near the Korean DMZ from 9/1/1967 to 8/31/1971, then why are straight up AO benefits limited to those who served only from April, 1968 to July, 1969?

Veterans who served in or near the DMZ from 67-71, and their advocates need to take the above cited portion of 38 USC, and go to the VA, submitting it as evidence of exposure to Agent Orange outside of the more narrow dates of 4/68-7-69.

Only exposure to Agent Orange has been determined to cause birth defects in children of Vietnam Veterans, and those birth defects are Spina Bifida. If you were exposed enough to qualify for benefits for a child with Spina Bifida, you were exposed enough to qualify for AO benefits if you have one of the listed qualifying AO diseases. In other words, the DVA has to expand the dates. We are NOT saying you must have a child with Spina Bifida. This is all about the dates and who set them.

Congress trumps the DVA. Public law is evidence.

Good luck Army! Go get them!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous16:38

    as a former army sgt stationed at camp casey and along the dmz it my opinion that all korea vets with medical conditions tied to agent orange should push the extended dates 1967/1971 for compensation for agent orange exposure,remember there is always strength in numbers.

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  2. I urge all Korean service Veterans from those dates to push for benefits ASAP. Additionally, there is supposedly a bill coming out next month that would authorize AO benefits for anyone anywhere in the world who was exposed to AO during the Vietnam War era.

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