Agent Orange in Johnston Atoll: VA Disability Benefits
Johnston Atoll is an island located off the southwest coast of Hawaii. The United States Air Force had a base on this island, called Johnston Island Air Force Base, which began operation before World War II and was decommissioned in 2004. The base was used to store Agent Orange between April 1972 and September 1977. As such, many veterans who were exposed on Johnston Atoll have gone on to develop serious health conditions.
Johnston Atoll and Hazardous Waste
Johnston Atoll was populated with as many as 1,200 military and military contractor personnel at one point. As mentioned above, Agent Orange was stored on the base between April 1972 and September 1977. This means that the many military servicemembers could have been exposed to the herbicide during their service on the island.
Additionally, the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) took place on Johnston Atoll during the mid-1990s. This system was used to destroy chemical agents.
What is Agent Orange?
Agent Orange is an herbicide mixture that was used extensively to deforest large areas of the environment during the Vietnam War era. Agent Orange created the highly toxic dioxin contaminant known as 2, 3, 7, 8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) as a byproduct. This dioxin often takes years to break down once it has been released into the environment and can cause a wide array of health effects.
Adverse Health Effects Relating to Agent Orange
There are many health effects which have supporting evidence linking them to Agent Orange. However, VA only recognizes the following conditions as eligible for presumptive service connection:
- AL Amyloidosis
- Bladder Cancer
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin's disease
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
- Parkinson's Disease
- Parkinson's-like Symptoms
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancer
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas
How the Honoring Our PACT Act Can Help Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange at Johnston Atoll
The recently passed Honoring Our PACT Act has extended the presumption of service connection to service members with active military naval, air, or space service who served in several locations, including:
- Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972, through September 30, 1977
Prior to the passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, veterans exposed at Johnston Atoll were not eligible for presumptive service connection. As a result of the PACT Act, it will now be easier for veterans to establish service connection and receive VA disability benefits for conditions linked to their Agent Orange exposure.
Benefits for Widows and Dependents
The passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act also enables the surviving spouses and dependents of veterans who may have passed away from a condition linked to Agent Orange exposure at Johnston Atoll Island to receive DIC benefits. DIC, or Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to the surviving spouse, children, or parent of a veteran whose death was related to military service or a service-connected condition.
To file a claim for DIC benefits, the surviving widow or dependent would need to file VA Form 21P-534EZ. If granted, DIC claims will become effective immediately.
How Much Compensation Can Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange on Johnston Atoll Receive?
If you are granted service connection for a condition linked to Agent Orange exposure on Johnston Atoll Island, the amount of compensation you receive will be dependent on the VA disability rating you are assigned. Ratings are assigned based on the severity of your condition.
As of December 1st, 2022 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $165.92 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $327.99 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $508.05 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $731.86 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $1,041.82 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,319.65 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,663.06 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,933.15 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $2,172.39 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $3,621.95 per month
Getting Legal Representation to Help with VA Disability Benefits Relating to Johnston Atoll Agent Orange Exposure
If you are a veteran who faced Agent Orange exposure on Johnston Atoll Island during your military service, help is available. Our team has helped many veterans win VA disability benefits for conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure and we may be able to assist you too. Call our office today for a free case evaluation.
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