There's free healthcare and compensation available for veterans suffering the effects of Agent Orange. Here's how to get help.

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Are you or veteran or do you know a veteran who served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange?

From 1962-1971 more than 19 million gallons of herbicides, commonly referred to as Agent Orange, were sprayed over Vietnam in an effort to kills plant life and deny cover to enemy forces. Since then, these toxins have been found to cause:
Type 2 Diabetes
Lung cancer
Prostate cancer
Ischemic heart disease
Hodgkin's disease
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Various soft tissues and bone caners

"Vietnam veterans with these conditions are entitled to free healthcare and monthly tax-free compensation," said John Javis, director of special projects at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, which along with the Veterans Administration Hospital, as well as other agencies, is providing assistance to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The benefits, including a free health exam, are available to veterans who served in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1976. Veterans who served aboard smaller river patrol and swift boats that operated on Vietnam's inland waterways are eligible. Veterans who served in Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between April 1, 1961 and Aug. 31, 1971, or in Thailand between Feb. 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975, also are eligible.

Veterans do not have to present military records to obtain this exam, which is not related to disability compensation.

"There is help, there are benefits and there are answers," said Javis. "These brave men and women served our country and have earned them."

If you belong to an organization that would like to have a speaker discuss these issues, contact the Mental Health Association of Nassau County at (516) 489-2322 to schedule a presentation.
For information regarding assistance and the medical needs of Vietnam veterans call the VA Hospital in Northport's Agent Orange Registry at (631) 261-4400, or call the Mental Health Association of Nassau County (516) 504-HELP.