Diabetes and Veterans Disability Compensation
I am asked all the time whether veterans can get disability compensation benefits if they have diabetes. Veterans also have questions about whether Diabetes is related to Agent Orange. Here is the VA’s general position on diabetes with several links:
Diabetes Mellitus (Type II)
If you developed diabetes mellitus (type II) and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service in Vietnam, you do not have to prove a connection between the disease and your military service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. VA presumes a service-connected relationship exists, based on the eligibility criteria below, that diabetes mellitus (Type II), or adult-onset diabetes, is associated with exposure to Agent Orange.
Normally, you would have to show proof of a relationship between your military service and the condition being claimed. Under presumption of service connection, however, VA presumes the relationship between exposure to Agent Orange and diabetes mellitus (Type II) if you meet all the following conditions:
- Served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period January 9, 1962 through May 7, 1975. (You must have physically served or visited in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), including service in the waters offshore if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in Vietnam. This means the ship must have come to port in the RVN and you disembarked.)
- Been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
- Have adult onset diabetes mellitus (Type II)
For more information on eligibility, please visit read Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange.
Private medical records may be used to verify your diabetes. If the records are sufficient, VA can make a determination and grant disability compensation benefits based on those records. If not, a VA examination will be required. Your medical records should:
- Comment on the date of onset and the diagnostic test used to affirmatively diagnose this condition.
- Comment on the treatment modalities (i.e. Insulin, diet, regulation of activities, etc.).
- Discuss, if applicable, the prior and current episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions. Were hospitalizations required? What was the frequency of hospitalizations?
- Fully describe any complications that stem from your diabetes mellitus condition; such as vision; cardiac; vascular; renal; neurologic (including both peripheral neuropathy and cerebral effects), amputations; and other associated complications.
Under a federal court decision, Vietnam Veterans are eligible for retroactive awards of benefits for their diabetes if you applied for service-connection for diabetes before the VA diabetes regulation went into effect on May 8, 2001. If you were previously denied service-connection for diabetes mellitus (Type II), you should reapply by contacting your local VA office.
If your diabetic condition has increased in severity since you were last rated by VA, you should contact your local VA office. You can file a claim for a reevaluation and the local VA office can provide assistance with that claim.
Service-Connected Death Benefits
How to Apply
- 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. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator page.
- Vietnam Veterans with chronic b-cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease, or ischemic heart disease may apply for disability compensation for these diseases using VA’s Fast Track Claims Processing System.
For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit our How to Apply page.