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By Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Ret
Senior Voice Correspondent 

An overview of Vietnam veteran benefits

Alaska Older Veterans Report


United States military involvement in the Vietnam War officially began on August 5, 1964; however, the first U.S. casualty in Vietnam occurred on July 8, 1959. Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam. During the war, over 58,000 U.S. military members lost their lives and 153,000 were wounded. There were 766 prisoners of war of which 114 died in captivity. The war was officially ended by Presidential Proclamation on May 7, 1975.

Following is the latest updates from the Veterans Administration website for Vietnam-era veterans,

VA benefits for Vietnam veterans

Vietnam veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. See for an overview of the benefits available to all veterans.

Disability compensation for Agent Orange exposure

VA presumes that some disabilities diagnosed in certain veterans were caused by exposure to Agent Orange during military service.

Learn more about VA health care benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange on the Veterans Health Administration’s Agent Orange page,

Learn more about VA compensation benefits for Veterans exposed to Agent Orange on the Disability Compensation Agent Orange page,

Children of veterans with exposure to Agent Orange

Children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange who have a birth defect including spina bifida, a congenital birth defect of the spine, and certain other birth defects, may be entitled to VA benefits. These include monetary benefits, health care and vocational rehabilitation.

Learn more about VA compensation benefits for children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange at

How to apply

Generally, service members, veterans, and families can apply for VA benefits using one of these methods:

• Apply online using eBenefits, OR

• Work with an accredited representative or agent, OR

• Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you.

Mike Dryden is a retired Army Major and current Older Persons Action Group, Inc. board member.


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