BY MAYNARD KADERLIK, CHAIR
First, a correction: In the last issue I reported that legislation had been passed that removed the one-year cut-off date for chloracne, acute/subacute peripheral neuropathy, and cutanea tarda. I was premature in my reporting. That action is under discussion, but no final vote has been taken.
I believe I understand why the 21-0304 forms filed for veterans’ children are not at the VA in Denver. Early on, we distributed the forms at Faces of Agent Orange town halls. We didn’t know the proper routing for the forms at the time or the service representatives’ involvement in getting them to the VA. I apologize for that. So if you have not heard anything from the VA on your 21-0304 form, work with your service representative and file again.
The link below will take you to instructions prepared by VVA for completing and submitting the 21-0304 form. If you do not have a computer, ask someone who has one to print a copy for you. https://vva.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/AO-Postcard-nocrops-3.pdf
When you file the claim, send a copy to the VVA Veterans Benefits Department at 8719 Colesville Rd., Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910 so that the claim can be tracked. Always keep copies of all the paperwork for your files. When the service rep files it with the Regional Office, it will go through the VA process and come back denied.
At that point, the form is supposed to be archived in Denver until the research gets underway, per Public Law 114-315. That is where another problem developed. During the previous administration the VA went off on its own and did not follow the law. We have asked VVA President John Rowan to write a letter or meet with the new VA Secretary, Denis McDonough, to discuss the VA’s failure to follow P.L. 114-315 on research for the children.
Update on bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinson-like symptoms presumptives: File now. The VA is working on a policy to address these diseases. Please be patient since nothing works fast in the government. Legislators are also working on getting hypertension listed as a presumptive since the National Academy of Sciences has reported evidence that suggests a link to Agent Orange.
We are hearing that more legislation is being considered to address toxic exposures, including Agent Orange and toxic substances that the post-Vietnam War veterans were exposed to.
In closing, I want to thank the people all over America, where much work is done on education and calls to our legislators. Also a thank-you to the Officers, BOD members, State Councils, the Agent Orange Committee, advisers, AVVA, and the national VVA staff for doing a great job during the pandemic. We will resume town halls as soon as the pandemic and its variants are under control.