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VA Benefits Case Remanded, Agent Orange Exposure

Appellant was attempting to reopen an old claim for a heart disability. He claimed he had been exposed to Agent Orange near the Korean demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the early 1980s. The VA presumes servicemembers who serve at or near the Korean DMZ between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971 were exposed to herbicides. Since the veteran served outside this period, he had to show actual herbicide exposure for VA to award service-connection for his heart disability. The Board would not reopen his claim, finding Appellant had presented no new and material evidence of exposure to Agent Orange. CAVC agreed with my arguments, finding the Board errored when it did not consider the Appellant’s lay statements under the correct legal standard. His claim of actual herbicide exposure will be heard again by the Board, as he has another opportunity to make his case and potentially collect on his claim.

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