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    Agent Orange

    Date: April 14, 2024

    Medical Science and VA Regulations


    Retroactive Benefits

    New Court Ruling on July 19, 2024 Calls VA's Position "Shameful"

    VA Overruled and Rebuked

    The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs must pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam veterans afflicted by chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rejecting the VA's contention that it is not required to re-adjudicate or provide benefits to veterans afflicted with the disease before 2024.

    The Court made its final decision in Nehmer vs. VA mandating VA benefits for CLL retroactive to the date of filing a claim, not the blanket October, 2024 date. The Court was quite hard on the VA in its decision and, failing an unlikely appeal to the Supreme Court, this should be the end of the matter. All veterans facing this issue owe thanks to the National Veterans Legal Services Program for leading the charge.


    map of Vietnam 2024 Update

    Current Experience with the VA

    Reader Feedback

    The following is the text of an email dated 4/5/2008 from Fred Meyer, a CLL patient and vet with prior Agent Orange exposure, reproduced here with his permission:

    I was diagnosed with CLL in May of 2024. My staging was "0", and that is where I currently remain.

    Onced diagnosed I began to search the web for information on this disease, and I arrived here. I am a Vietnam Veteran, and part of the AO Registry, so I receive periodic updates on new diseases added to the presumtive list of caused by Agent Orange exposure. Of course until recently, this list did not have great importance to me, since thank God I had none of the conditions listed.

    To make a long story short, after learning of my disease, I applied for Compensation payments based on the VA's rulings.

    One important thing that all veterans should know, is that your local government agencie have Veteran's Service Derpartments or something similar. These organizations have trained people who will take care of all of your interfaces with the VA while you are applying for benefits. All you need to do is provide proof of service in Vietnam and proof of any dependents who also may increase the amount of your payment.

    My local county Veterans Service Group took care of all my paperwork and answered all of the inquiries made by the VA. Within four months the VA ruled that I would get a 100% compensation rating along with additional money for my wife.

    While I would rather not have the money at all, and live my life free of the possibilities of having CLL, the fact that I can have all treatments free of charge at a VA facility if need be takes some worries off of my mind.

    Thanks to Peter Carpenter and his article for being in the forefront of this ruling. I urge all Vietnam Veterans who have been diagnosed with CLL to apply for benefits that they are certainly entitled to. We went there in good faith, and recognizing that we were putting our lives on the line, but be did not agree to be poisoned, and to have our lives aversely effected forty odd years later.

    Thank you for this wonder source of information and encouragement.


    Fred Meyer


    map of Vietnam The Price of
    Military Service

    VA Accepts the Agent Orange Connection to CLL

    Veterans Please Note

    There is an acknowledged association between Agent Orange and CLL.

    An authoritative reference for this connection is the Veterans and Agent Orange Update 2024 published by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (the CLL-related material in the 2024 Update is at pp 377 - 378).

    But don't rush out to buy this document. A free summary of the relevant CLL - herbicides part is available in a clear and succinct Executive Summary, Table ES-1 (click on the pdf link on the page). If the source website for the link above is unavailable, a cached copy of this pdf document is available on this website. The online version might be more current.

    The Veterans Administration's official policy on the link between Agent Orange exposure and CLL may be found on the VA Site on Herbicide Exposure. Please note that the VA has now listed CLL as a potential consequence of Agent Orange exposure. The site contains a number of fact sheets, called briefs, which deal with various conditiions that may arise from Agent Orange exposure. CLL patients will be particularly interested in the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia brief. This document, prepared in August 2024, provides information on the CLL - Agent Orange connection, history, government action and VA contact points for veterans. It is a key document for veterans who are dealing simultaneously with the organizational labyrinth and financial hurdles posed by the VA and this chronic disease.

    In case the VA website is temporarily unavailable, here is a link to a cached pdf version of the document: CLL Brief. To be sure you have the most current version, you should use the document on the VA website if it is available.

    Editor's Note: This information was sent in by Tim Klug, a former Marine who served three tours in Vietnam as an aviator and with the infantry.


    VA Agent Orange Policy

    One Veteran's Experience

    VA Grants 100% Disability Status

    The following is the text of an email dated 5/19/2004 from Peter Carpenter, a CLL patient and vet with prior Agent Orange exposure, reproduced here with his permission (in June 2024, Peter was elected a director of CLL Topics, Inc.):

    I have been notified by the VA that because of my exposure to Agent Orange and my diagnosis of CLL that I have been granted 100% disability status. My request was filed in November of 2024 and granted in May of 2024 with benefits retroactive to November of 2024. As a consequence of the 100% disability rating all of my medical care, not just the CLL related care, will be provided by the VA.

    I encourage other veterans who served in Vietnam and who have been diagnosed with CLL to file a claim promptly. The local DAV (Disabled American Veterans) literally filled out my claim form for me -- all I had to do was sign it.

    Peter Carpenter
    2024 stage 0"




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