Birth defects (spina bifida) linked to Agent Orange
Spina bifida is a spinal cord birth defect. A baby develops spina bifida while still in the womb. In some cases, a parent’s past contact with specific chemicals causes this birth defect. If you served in South Vietnam or the Republic of Korea—and your child has spina bifida or certain other birth defects—your child may be able to get disability benefits. Find out if your child qualifies for benefits.
Can my child get disability benefits from VA?
For spina bifida
Your child may be able to get disability benefits if they were diagnosed with a form of spina bifida other than spina bifida occulta and the below descriptions are true.
One of these descriptions must be true:
The child’s biological mother or father served in:
- South Vietnam (the Republic of Vietnam) any time from January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, or
- Certain units in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any time from April 1, 1968, through August 31, 1971
And this must be true:
The child was conceived after the parent served in either South Vietnam or the Republic of Korea.
Note: Your character of discharge and length of service don’t affect your child’s eligibility for disability benefits relating to spina bifida.
For other birth defects
Your child may be able to get disability benefits if they have a covered birth defect that caused a permanent physical or mental disability (a disability that doesn’t go away) and both of the below descriptions are true.
Both of these must be true:
- The child’s biological mother served in South Vietnam any time from January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, and
- The child was conceived after the mother served in South Vietnam
- Qualified dependents
- Qualified survivors
What kind of disability benefits can my child get?
- Health care
- Compensation (payments)
- Job training
How do I get these benefits for my child?
You’ll need to file a claim on behalf of your child and submit this evidence:
- A document showing the biological relationship between the child and the Veteran parent, and
- Service records that prove the Veteran served in Vietnam or Korea during the qualifying dates listed above, and
- The child’s birth certificate, and
- Medical records with the diagnosis of spina bifida or another covered birth defect
Get more information
Does your child have spina bifida?
Learn more about spina bifida and Agent Orange
Learn more about VR&E benefits for children with spina bifida and other birth defects