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Can I Get Radiation Exposure Compensation?

Published on July 30th, 2020

The United States Military has been researching and using nuclear weapons for over seventy years. There is no telling exactly how many of its veterans have become ill as a result. Fortunately, VA regulations provide for a presumption of service connection if you have a qualifying condition and you served at a time or place where you were likely exposed to significant radiation. If you get this presumption, the compensation process will be much easier because you won’t need to prove how your disability was caused by your military service.

Without a presumption, you can still qualify for benefits but you will need to demonstrate that your illness was caused or made worse by the conditions of your military service. Many veterans are unable to make the case for a service connection during their initial benefits application, but succeed during the appeals process with a veterans disability lawyer. If the VA has denied your radiation exposure benefits, call Jackson & MacNichol today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation about your case.

Cancer Is the Most Common Presumptive Condition for Radiation Exposure

The VA will presume that you were exposed to radiation if your military service records can establish that you were present at any of the following:

  • Occupation of Nagasaki or Hiroshima between August 6, 1945 and July 1, 1946
  • Prisoners of War camp in Japan during World War II
  • Any nuclear test site in Nevada or the Pacific from 1945 to 1962
  • Nuclear test sites in Amchitka Island, Alaska before January 1, 1974
  • At least 250 days at Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, or Oak Ridge, TN, before February 1, 1991
  • Fukushima, Japan between March 12 and May 11, 2011
  • Clean-up mission to Pamores, Spain in 1966
  • Worked as an x-ray technician, in a reactor plant, or in any other position directly related to nuclear medicine or radiography
  • Exposure to depleted uranium shells
  • Stationed at Long Range Navigation stations (LORAN) between 1942 and 2010
  • McMurdo Station, Antarctica from 1964 to 1973

The list of presumptive conditions, which release you from the requirement of proving a service connection, includes:

  • Bile duct cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gall bladder cancer
  • Liver cancer (but not if you also have cirrhosis or hepatitis B)
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pharynx cancer
  • Ovary cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Small intestine cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Urinary tract cancer
  • All leukemias except chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • All lymphomas except for Hodkin’s disease
  • Multiple Myeloma.
    In addition to these presumptive conditions, the VA recognizes a link between radiation exposure and the following conditions:
  • All other cancer types
  • Non-malignant thyroid nodular disease
  • Tumors of the brain or central nervous system
  • Posterior subscapular cataracts
  • Parathyroid adenoma

For any non-presumptive conditions, you need to show exactly how the circumstances of your military service caused or made these conditions worse. This is generally the most difficult aspect of the disability compensation process, and it may require a significant amount of research and testimony about your health and your time in the military.

A Veterans Benefits Lawyer Can Help Build a Winning Case

If the VA declines your application for disability compensation, or gives you a rating that is much lower than you expected, you only have one year to appeal your case. You may be able to win an appeal on your own, but retaining the services of an experienced veterans benefits lawyer will increase your chances of success while reducing the stress of going through the process. To learn more about how we can help you overturn the denial of your VA benefits, call Jackson & MacNichol today at 1(800) 524-3339.


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