Birth Defects (Spina Bifida)

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 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
  • The child was conceived after the parent served in either South Vietnam or the Republic of Korea

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:

  • 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

Who’s covered?

  • 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 apply for benefits for your child. When you apply, you’ll have to show that your contact with certain chemicals while serving in the military likely caused your child’s birth defect. Apply for benefits.

Get more information

Does your child have spina bifida? Learn more about spina bifida and Agent Orange.