Show Support for Vietnam Veterans with PD

Release date: 4/13/2010

Submit Comments on Draft Rule Regarding Agent Orange & PD 
Deadline April 26! 

From the Parkinson's Action Network: 

On March 25, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a proposed rule that adds Parkinson's disease to the list of health problems found to be related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures during Vietnam War service. This proposed rule resulted from a decision by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki in October 2009 that created a "presumption of service connection" for disabled Vietnam veterans living with Parkinson's disease. This decision simplifies and accelerates the benefits application process for Vietnam veterans with Parkinson's disease.

It is critical that we show our support for this important decision. Please help generate as many comments as possible by the April 26th filing deadline. Each comment will be recorded and counted!

It is important to note that the VA is encouraging Vietnam veterans to submit their applications for compensation now-even before the rule is final-so that the Agency can begin development of their claims and veterans can receive benefits from the date of their applications once the rule becomes final.

How to Submit Your Comments:

Go to comment form here.

Copy and paste the text below into the comment box, edit it if you want, and click 'submit.'

Suggested Comment Text:

As a member of the Parkinson's community, I am pleased that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) declared a "presumption of service connection" between exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War and the subsequent development of Parkinson's disease. For the thousands of Vietnam veterans living with Parkinson's, this means access to benefits that they wholeheartedly deserve.

The final rule should be clarified to include a more clear definition of Parkinson's disease. The definition should include primary, atypical (also known as Parkinson's plus), and secondary parkinsonian syndromes. As the proposed rule states, risk of Parkinsonism was found to increase due to exposure to a variety of chemicals, including dioxin-like chemicals.

I would like to commend the VA for assuming a 100% disability rating for Parkinson's disease. For those already receiving benefits due to other service-connected disabilities, a higher combined rating of 100% will provide veterans with appropriate additional compensation for their service. I am also pleased that the draft guidelines allow for retroactive Veteran and Survivor Payments. The estimated 2,300 Vietnam veterans living with Parkinson's disease, who were previously denied claims, should be able to gain access to their benefits as quickly as possible. I look forward to a smooth process for those qualifying Vietnam veterans.

Thank you for the VA's work on this important issue.