Birth Defects/Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly. It can be caused by environmental factors. If you are a Veteran with qualifying service in South Vietnam or the Republic of Korea, and your child has spina bifida or certain other birth defects, he or she may be eligible for VA benefits.

Are you eligible for benefits?

Spina Bifida

If you are seeking benefits for the biological child of a male or female Veteran, yes, if:

  • The parent served in South Vietnam (the Republic of Vietnam) during the period from January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, or
  • The parent served in a military unit in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the period 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, and
  • The child was diagnosed with a form of spina bifida other than spina bifida occulta.

Other Birth Defects

Yes, if:

  • You are seeking benefits for the biological child of a female Veteran, and
  • The mother served in South Vietnam during the period from January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, and
  • The child was conceived after the mother served in South Vietnam, and
  • The child has a covered birth defect that resulted in a permanent physical or mental disability.

Who is covered

Dependents and survivors of qualified Veterans

Available benefits

  • Monetary allowances
  • Health care
  • Vocational training

How it works

VA provides monetary allowances at one of three disability levels, based on the severity of the disability.

Learn more

Spina Bifida and Agent Orange