The Proposed Cash-In on Agent Orange Benefits

Over the last forty years, tens of thousands of Veterans have died as a result of exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam, and their families have never been compensated for their war-related death.

Their survivors have been denied by V.A. regulations, which, by design, are impossible for any lay person to understand. The tens of thousands of servicemen and their families never knew what a sham the C.F.R. title 38, U.S.C. was in the first place, and every year hundreds of new laws make it even more complicated.

Yet the 110th Democratic Congress is entertaining the passage of a bill to benefit civilian contractors and their civilian employees who were never attached to military units.

These civilians never came close to the number of exposures endured by servicemen in Viet Nam. They were there for the money - and were paid many times the wage of our service personnel.

We Veterans are being treated as a lower class of citizen, the treatment given civilian contractors is a very different law, The "Civilian Agent Orange Act of 2007" (Introduced in House) HR 972 IH, 110th Congress, is proof of that.

Veterans wait years for a claim related to the exposure and must prove that their illness was caused by Agent Orange exposure by having medical conditions with documentation. This bill addressing the Civilian exposure to Agent Orange has no medical requirement at all.

I spend hours and hours compiling the Veterans' documents, and then the Veterans spend years in testing, treatments and doctor's visits trying to gain the needed documentation that will satisfy the VA. When we submit a claim, we may wait years for a decision that gives very few dollars per month.

However, an Employee of a civilian company, or the eligible survivor of that employee, shall receive compensation for the injury, illness, or death of that employee by being given $100,000 dollars.

There are thousands of Veterans who died while waiting for our government to stop pissing around and stalling for three decades before the first mortality was finally admitted. Adding insult to injury, there were no retroactive benefits for any veteran that died while waiting for his claim.

For us Veterans, the law is "No Veteran No Claim." The claim dies with the Veterans, but not for contractor civilians. Yet here is what is being proposed for the civilian contractors:

ELIGIBLE SURVIVORS - In the case of an exposed employee who is deceased at the time of payment of compensation under this section, whether or not the death is the result of the employee's Agent Orange illness, such payment shall be made to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, payment shall be made in equal shares to all surviving children of the employee.

The law goes on to say, "If an employee eligible for payment dies, a survivor of that employee may receive payment; the 'spouse,' a wife or husband who was married to that individual for at least one year immediately before death, or a child, stepchild or adopted child."

You have the military/industrial complex, which was given dollars by the billions by contractors like Dow Chemical during the Viet Nam Era. Now, even after forty years of fighting for our benefits, we see that the veteran faces legal criteria that does not apply to others.

This system is designed to wear down the disabled veterans until finally they are so tired and so frustrated that they give up fighting and go off to die without any benefits. We wore the Uniform in good faith, knowing that when we were wounded and suffering our Country would care for us. What a joke.

This is a slap in the face of those of us who wore the uniform and have suffered many years to get any relief for the terrible consequences of our service in Viet Nam, directly related to the neglect of the military industrial complex in these deadly chemicals, and the VA's legal bull.