..My advice to those new to the VA process for Agent Orange cases, just go to your local VA county office and let them handle the whole paperwork trail. My office did a wonderful job, after I wasted nearly 3 years on my own getting the initial approval. Could have saved a lot of frustration had I done so....
I'll second that.
Early 2015 I started to file an E-Claim for Agent Orange and after a few minutes I realized I was in way, way over my head. A buddy told me about
an excellent county veteran's services office and I contacted her and she was indeed excellent. She led me through the entire process - even though my claim was a Fully Qualified Claim (Agent Orange + prostate cancer = automatic benefits), it was still a bit complicated. You need an original DD214 or a certified copy from the DOD archives and you have to prove you were boots on the ground in Vietnam, a Navy river rat, on a ship nearby, where the chemical was stored, etc, etc, etc. (There's a list available for what
The archives had a fire circa mid-1970s and many veterans records were destroyed, I was discharged in 1972 so I was holding my breath my records were there (I had a copy of my DD214 but not one of the originals.) Lucky me, two weeks later I had a certified DD214
, then she had me record the DD214 with the county clerk which then becomes part of the county certified documents in case I ever need an 'original' again.
As far as my Vietnam qualification, I was lucky again since my DD214 specifically mentioned my Vietnam service. Another break.
She also had the ability to log on to the VA system to see the status of my claim, getting to be qualified to remotely log-on to the VA system is a big deal and she had to go through training and jump through hoops to have that ability.
I'm 100% disabled due to Lupron/radiation treatments but I'll be reevaluated sometime this year and I'll get dropped back to some percentage. I have fairly significant lymphodema in my legs due to the loss of 44 lymph nodes so that should figure into disability calculations.