Any disability claims for Agent Orange related diseases that were denied or filed after September 24, 1985, and before the list of diseases in Table 8-1 was published, could be considered Category 1 claims. In these cases, the rules that define what is considered to be an official disability compensation claim are very liberal.
Some examples of communications that should be sufficient to allow a veteran to qualify for the special Agent Orange effective date rules for disability compensation are:
- The veteran submitted an official VA document to the VA stating that they should grant him or her service-connected disability benefits for a specific disease that is listed in Table 8-1. Any VA disability attorney should note that these documents don’t even have to refer specifically to Vietnam or Agent Orange.
- The veteran made disability claims for a disease that was never specifically identified. However, while the claim was pending, medical records that diagnosed the veteran with a Table 8-1 disease were filed with the VA.
- The veteran filed a compensation claim for a disability that was not listed in Table 8-1, but while the claim was pending, the veteran was officially diagnosed with a Table 8-1 disease that was put into their VA claim file. This rule is often violated by the VA when setting effective dates. In order to improve their compliance with this rule, the VA added more details to its Nehmer training guide.
Do Medical Records Count as Disability Claims?
Your VA disability attorney will note that a veteran’s medical records do not count as a claim by themselves. However, if medical records are present at the time the veteran files separate disability claims, the condition shown on the medical records will be considered part of those claims.