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Court Wins

CCK Helps Widow of WWII Veteran Secure Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

August 11, 2021
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Summary of the Case

CCK recently helped secure Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for a veteran’s widow, to include service connection for cause of death and basic eligibility to Dependents’ Educational Assistance.

The Veteran first served in the US Naval Service from December 1942 to March 1946 in the Pacific Theatre.  The Veteran then served again from October 1947 to March 1950.  Following this, the Veteran served in the United States Air Force from 1957 to 1959 as a weapons mechanic.  He re-enlisted in 1959 and served intermittently until 1972 as a weapons maintenance supervisor, with foreign service at Ubon Air Field in Thailand.  The Veteran finally retired after 24 years and 7 months of military service.

The Veteran passed away in June of 2012 due to pneumonia, renal failure, and metastatic prostate cancer.  Dementia was also a contributing factor in his death.   The Veteran’s widow filed for DIC benefits in December 2012.

CCK took the case in April 2020, after a June 2019 Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that had denied entitlement to service connection for the Veteran’s cause of death was remanded by the CAVC in March 2020.

CCK Argues Before the BVA

Even though the BVA had previously denied the claim for service connection, CCK understood the link between the Veteran’s service and his prostate cancer, a probable cause of death.  As the Veteran had served in Thailand, CCK knew that Agent Orange exposure likely caused his prostate cancer.

CCK argued that, since the Veteran had worked as a weapons maintenance supervisor near the perimeters of the Ubon, Korat, and Takhli Air Force Bases, he was likely exposed to herbicide agents in Thailand.

BVA Finally Grants Service Connection

On November 25, 2020 the BVA finally conceded that the Veteran was exposed to herbicide agents in Thailand on a factual basis.  As prostate cancer is a condition eligible for presumptive service connection due to exposure, and the Veteran passed away because of his prostate cancer, the Board granted service connection for his cause of death.

The BVA also granted the Veteran’s widow eligibility to Dependent’s Educational Assistance, since the Veteran died as the result of a service-connected disability. In addition, the Veteran’s widow was also awarded burial benefits.