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Veterans Law

Agent Orange Exposure in Thailand and VA Disability Benefits

August 3, 2022
Updated: August 11, 2022
Agent Orange Exposure in Thailand and VA Disability Benefits

Agent Orange is an herbicide that was used by the United States during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was made up of 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T and its contaminant TCDD, which is a highly toxic byproduct of producing Agent Orange.  Thailand was one of the locations where Agent Orange was used extensively, meaning veterans who served there might have faced exposure.  Continue reading to learn about the benefits that may be available to veterans who faced Agent Orange exposure in Thailand.

Thailand Report: How Was Agent Orange Used in Thailand?

In 1973, a report was compiled by the Department of Defense entitled “Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report: Base Defense in Thailand in 1968-1972.”  This report is essentially a 90-page evaluation of the extent to which herbicides were used in Thailand.  Although the report was written in 1973, it was only declassified in 1989.

The report ultimately found that Agent Orange and other herbicides were used near the perimeters of bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War Era.  Specifically, the report found “heavy use” of herbicides to clear brush and eliminate enemy cover along the perimeters of bases.

The CHECO report found that veterans who served in Thailand likely faced exposure to herbicides.

VA also has presumptive service connection for veterans who served in Thailand.  However, the signage of the Honoring our PACT Act has altered who is eligible for these presumptions.

Who Was Exposed in Thailand?

Under the new PACT Act, VA recognizes that any servicemember with active military naval, air, or space service who served in Thailand, at any US or Thai base, between January 9, 1962 and June 30, 1976 were likely exposed to Agent Orange.  VA has established presumptive service connection for these veterans, meaning that VA will assume exposure to Agent Orange if veterans can prove that they served in Thailand, at any US or Thai base, between January 9, 1962 and June 30, 1976.

Where Were They Exposed?

VA presumes exposure for service at any US or Thai base.  While not an exhaustive list, these can include service on any part of the following bases:

  • U-Tapao
  • Ubon
  • Nakhon Phanom
  • Udorn
  • Takhli
  • Korat
  • Don Muang
The PACT ACT Explained: Toxic Exposure Veterans' Benefits

How the “Honoring Our PACT” Act Helps Those Exposed in Thailand

Prior to the passage of the PACT Act, veterans could only be eligible for presumptive service connection if they served near the perimeter of specific bases.  This often meant that the veteran needed to prove that their MOS required them to be near the perimeter of the base.

With the PACT ACT, veterans who served in Thailand are eligible for presumptive service connection, regardless of their MOS or where on base they were located.  As long as the veteran served at any US or Thai base in Thailand between January 1, 1962 and June 30, 1976, they should be eligible for presumptive service connection through the PACT Act.

Benefits for Widows and Dependents

The Honoring Our PACT Act also expands eligibility requirements for surviving spouses and dependents to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits.

If the veteran passed away from a condition linked to Agent Orange exposure in Thailand, and served in Thailand, at any US or Thai base, between January 1, 1962 and June 30, 1976, they would be eligible for presumptive service connection now, meaning that survivors and dependents could be eligible for retroactive DIC benefits.  If granted, DIC claims will become effective immediately.

What Conditions Are Linked to Agent Orange Exposure?

Agent Orange Infographic

How to File a Claim for Benefits Relating to Agent Orange Exposure in Thailand

To file a claim for a condition related to Agent Orange exposure in Thailand, veterans should fill out VA Form 21-526EZ.  In addition to this form, the veteran will need to submit a current diagnosis.

If the veteran is not eligible for presumptive service connection for their condition, meaning their condition is not one of the ones listed in the presumption, they may also need to submit:

  • Evidence of an in-service event, illness, or injury; and
  • A nexus which links the veteran’s condition to the event, illness, or injury

A nexus would be any evidence that links the veteran’s condition to Agent Orange.  For example, if the veteran developed kidney disease, a condition which is not on the presumption list, as the result of Agent Orange exposure in Thailand, then the veteran could provide medical evidence indicating the connection between Agent Orange and kidney disease.

Getting Help with Your Agent Orange Exposure in Thailand Case

If you are a veteran who was previously denied service connection for a condition or disability linked to Agent Orange exposure, the recently passed PACT Act may enable you to receive benefits for which you were not previously.

The experienced veterans’ advocates at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick have helped many veterans win their appeals for VA disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure in Thailand and we may be able to help you too.  Call our office today for a free case evaluation.