Agent Orange and Service Connected Disability


I would like to know if anyone out there that has been diagonised with Small Cell Lung Cancer has been able to recieved a service connected disability with the VA due to Agent Orange. My husband applied last July and passed away in January. They are telling me that His lung cancer was due to his cigerette smoking because it is small cell and have denied his claim and my DIC claim. I need help fighting this. In the 11 presumptive conditions listed lung cancer is one of them it does not state non small cell verses small cell.
My husband served with the 173rd airbore on the ground in Vietnam, he recieved a Purple Heart and a Bronze star with V and never asked anything of the VA in 40 years, Please send advise if you can.

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i have nsclc, was in v.n. 69-1970 at this time i am getting 100% comp. from the va, there was never any question about smokimg, and in the regulation i never seen anything about smoking, ,did you try contacting the d.v.a ? that are very helpful, i am very sorry to hear that we lost an other brother

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It sounds like you need to contact a service Officer to advocate for you. My understanding is that lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is a presumptive condition, and smoking history is irrelevant. This is a link on the Veterans Health Council website and it should help you find a Service Officer who can help:


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I am service connected for SCLC and agent orange. Like puppet there was no question about smoking. Any respiratory cancer is presumed to be caused by agent orange.
Who has been telling you this? Sounds like you need to get a representative to help you. I used the Tennessee Veterans office. Others have success with DAV, VFW etc.
Would be glad to send you lnks to the VA regs if you want them.

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Hello Everyone
Thank you for your reply's to my post. My husband was diagnosed last June and in July we went to the State Department of the VA in Staten Island. We were told that he would have a claim for Service Connection due to his Agent Orange exposure and Lung Cancer. The state office has filed all of the necessary paperwork on Our Behalf but the Regional Office is Saying that SCLC is always almost caused by excessive smoking and that is what caused his lung cancer and not Agent Orange. I would be happy to forward to you my latest correspondence from them if you would like to send me your email addresses. It will not let me copy and paste. Any help is appreciated
And they they request all of the same damn paperwork that they have received numerous times already.

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Hi Nova...First let me tell you how sorry I am for your loss. And secondly, for how long this note is...Now, my husband is service connected for Agent Orange exposure for prostate cancer and also diabetes. I feel for you, for you are about to embark on a very long and strenuous fight. But do NOT give up as I firmly believe that is what the VA wants you to do. They almost ALWAYS deny initial claims and force you to appeal and most often appeal the appeal...My husband and I had to appeal over and over for his prostate cancer and the effects from it for years and ended up having to go all the way to DC to an the VA Appeals Court in person to fight it with the judge. He finally won but alas, only after putting us in financial and emotional ruins. Today he is 100% connected but it wasn't easy. Get ahold of the DAV or the VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America) for some representation and advice. They should take hold of your claim(s) and follow through for you BUT please, remember to follow-up with them and check your status frequently through the VA helpline that should be on your claims or "rejection" letter and form. They have recently found a spot on my husbands lung and we are now in the process of seeking it's cause and origin but I do know that like you said ALL lung cancers are indeed blanketed under the Agent Orange connection and by LAW they should not have even questioned it. So, please continue to fight this for your husband and for yourself--it is the least the VA can do for knowlingly spraying our husbands with a toxin that they knew would cause our husbands to become colateral damage for the "cause". Please feel free to contact me personally should you need any further support or advice at would be happy to help you. Please once again, accept my condolences and heartfelt support. Wendy

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Hi again Nova---hope I am not bothering you but I see 2 problems in your latest post. 1) I know for a fact that ALL respiratory cancers are blanketed under AO exposure and must be decided on the veterans side without question and 2) the fact that they are inundating with duplicated paperwork is also against the law! I am so sorry that your Regional office seems to be a bit behind the times and the very laws that the VA and judicial system have put in place to respect and protect the veteran are not being adhered to but again don't give up...Somebody has made a terrible mistake on your decision. Maybe try to contact the VA in Washington direct...go on the VA website and surf all through it. It is very informative and should help you find people right where you live to help guide you. Good luck and again, if you would like to contact me please do at anytime. If I can help---I will. Wendy

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Fight with the VA for your claim, it may take a few years, but you will WIN in the end. You have to swamp them with paper work. It took 6yrs before I got DIC from my husband's death. I so happened on the right person one night online. I did not of course get any back pay but I WON, I finally beat their system.
They want you to GIVE UP, DO NOT!!

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I just read your message regarding your husband and lung cancer. First off, I am so sorry for your loss. Secondly, did you ever get any satisfaction from the VA. My husband has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and he was an Vietnam Vet with two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was a CB, working directly with the containers carrying the Agent Orange. It is extremely upsetting to me that we now face this at this stage in our lives. He is 65 years old and self employed. Obviously, this is going to put a tremendous stress on our family. Anyway, please let me know how you came out with the VA. Thanks for your help

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Hi Frank63

I am sorry that you and I have had to meet over these circumstances. This is a wonderful support group for individuals, family or even friends to get some great advice and support.

Having said that I will give you an update on where I currently am with the VA. My husband filed a claim in January 08 when he got sick, He died in January of 2009 without being rated by the VA with a service connected disability. His claim died with him, leaving me on my own to fight for a DIC pension. I Had to prove his service connection which I was able to do and in May I was awarded DIC. I was not however awarded his accrued benefits which I still am filing paperwork for and may husband has been dead for over a year.

The Best advice i can give you is this.
Nothing works fast within the wall of the VA.
Keep copies of everything you send them as they have a way of loosing things and ask you to re-submit.
Don't ever give up.

If your husband had his feet on the ground in Vietnam during specific years 68 to I'm not sure the end date maybe 72 but you would have to check. He has a claim for agent orange. Lung Cancer is one of the 11 presumptive conditions of exposure to agent orange. regardless of the strain. Make an appointment with your regional office or service officer and get the paper work filed as soon as possible, and Never, Ever, Give Up!

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Hello Nova Scotia
What great news that you have finally succeded with the VA. So sorry for your loss and all of the fustration you have been through. Good news is that the VA is moving to an automated process for Agent Orange claims.
By the way since the claim is now complete you are eligible for ChampVA health insurance.
Happy Day,

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Hello Frank63
I am so sorry to hear of your husbands lung cancer. Please thank him for serving. I am an almost 16 month SCLC survivor who served in Vietnam in 1970.
As to the VA you should immediately file a claim since the day the VA receives your first claim is the effective date for payments. I strongly recommend you work with your State VA representative. If you need help finding this person tell me the county/state you live in and I will help you find them. For the claim you will need DD214 showing Vietnam service and medical records (pathology notes, doctor notes, scans).
Assuming your husband has been filing income tax returns on his self employment he would also be eligible for SS disability benefits.
I would be delighted to help in any way I can.

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Thank You Cecil

You are a great inspiration an a wonderful resource to Veterans and their families dealing with the VA. I am hoping for a positive outcome for the accrued benefits as I cannot see how they can give me DIC and not give the accrued benefits for my husband. It is my understanding that in order for me to receive DIC my husband had to of died of a service connected disability.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will be happy to be able to put an end to all the paperwork.


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