VA presumptive program: Several public laws, as implemented in 38 CFR 3.309, authorize VA to pay compensation for 21 types of cancer to participants in US atmospheric nuclear testing or in occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Filing a VA claim under this regulation does not require dose information from DTRA. Veterans who cannot be confirmed as participants are not eligible for VA compensation under this program.
Veterans must submit competent medical evidence that they have a medical condition covered under the VA regulations. On the basis of the information provided, VA decides under which law to file the claim. The claimant is not required to be familiar with the applicable laws and regulations.
Figure III.B.1 identifies the organizations that handle a VA claim initiated through a VARO when a claim is filed under the nonpresumptive regulation (38 CFR 3.311). The chart depicts the actions and steps through which a claim inquiry passes after the VARO requests information from DTRA. DTRA has a veterans-support effort through a teamed contract with JAYCOR and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to conduct historical research on veterans’ participation activities and to determine radiation doses related to those activities. DTRA reviews and approves contractor-prepared work products before submitting them to the VARO. The VARO specifies the above-cited regulation in its inquiry to DTRA for processing a claim.
To start the process, a person must file a claim for disability compensation with the local VARO. As noted above, a VA claim under this regulation does not require the claimant to obtain prior confirmation of participation or information on radiation dose from DTRA. The claimant must furnish medical evidence of a radiogenic disease listed in 38 CFR 3.311 or of any other disease plus a medical opinion that the unlisted other disease can be caused by radiation exposure. The claimed activity must involve participation in the US atmospheric nuclear testing program, occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, or POW status in the vicinity of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
The VARO asks DTRA to confirm the veteran’s participation in one of the three activities listed above. If the disease for which the claim is filed is considered a radiogenic disease, the VARO also requests an assessment of the veteran’s radiation exposure. The VA letter to DTRA should identify the veteran, describe his claimed participation, name the radiogenic disease, cite the specific controlling regulation, and include available claimant statements and supporting evidence if any.
DTRA through its contractors reviews the information provided by the VARO and conducts historical research, including interviews with the claimant for clarification if necessary, to determine the veteran’s participation status. If