Cancer caused by Agent Orange


I was recently awarded 100% service connected disability because of cancer caused by agent orange exposure in Vietnam. I was awarded DEA assistance. VA language in the decision letter says "Basic eligibility to DEA is granted as the evidence shows the veteran has a total service connected disability, permanent in nature. There is nothing in the VA decision letter about future medical exams. I am 69 years old.

The decision letter says nothing about P&T except the above sentence, but the VA rep at 800-827-1000 said VA records indicate my award is P&T.

Short of my incurable cancer being cured, or my committing fraud( which of course has not occurred, is my service connected disability a lifetime award?

Jim's Reply

Yes, your rating is Permanent and Total or P & T. The VA uses arcane language in award letters and there is no consistency from one regional office to the next about how the P & T rating will be announced. Often enough the letter will say that dependents eligibility to DEA is established or similar language for CHAMPVA.

Since those are benefits reserved for P & T vets we're supposed to somehow know that's their intent. They'll also often say something about a future exam being scheduled and that's our hint that the rating is temporary. Your rating is a "lifetime award".