Thousands of military veterans will soon divvy up a ten-year installment of about $47.5 million in disability benefits recently awarded by the federal government as compensation for harm caused by exposure to Monsanto’s Agent Orange herbicide.
As many as 2,100 Air Force reservists and active-duty forces who sprayed the toxic herbicide during the Vietnam War will have access to the benefits, which are meant to cover health damage caused by exposure to Agent Orange residue on Fairchild C-123 aircraft flown over Southeast Asia between 1969 and 1986.
The award is long overdue, especially as the federal government has insisted for many years that residues of Agent Orange couldn’t possibly be responsible for the various cancers, diabetes and leukemia suffered by thousands of former military men and women who handled the chemical at the bidding of the U.S. government.
Since June 19, eligible servicemen have been able to file for Agent Orange-related disability benefits, including survivor benefits and ongoing medical care. Any veteran who can prove that he or she worked on a contaminated plane and developed one or more of 14 qualifying medical conditions as a result, including prostate cancer, diabetes, and leukemia, is eligible for payment.