House Approves Legislation for Agent Orange Benefits to Blue Water Navy Veterans
The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously 382-0 to grant Agent Orange Benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans. On June 25, 2018, the House passed H.R. 299 – Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 which would extend disability compensation benefits to Vietnam Veterans who served in the Navy on ships that were offshore. The legislation has now moved to the U.S. Senate where they will vote on it soon and President Trump is expected to sign it into law.
Previously, only veterans who had “boots on the ground” in Vietnam or served aboard Brown Water Navy ships were eligible to receive disability compensation benefits due to the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange (herbicides). Blue Water Navy Veterans were only eligible for Agent Orange benefits if the ship they served aboard was on the list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that operated in Vietnam.
The pending bill now grants service connection to veterans who served aboard any ship(s) that were stationed offshore the Republic of Vietnam.
Previously Denied VA Disability Claims
Blue Water Navy Veterans whose VA disability claims were previously denied based on exposure to Agent Orange will now have their prior claims approved. The bill states that an individual who meets the following criteria will be granted and earlier effective date of their claim:
(i) The veteran or survivor submitted a claim for disability compensation on or after September 25, 1985, and before January 1, 2019, for a disease covered by this section, and the claim was denied by reason of the claim not establishing that the disease was incurred or aggravated by the service of the veteran.
Otherwise, the following effective date of claim will apply:
(ii) The veteran or survivor submits a claim for disability compensation on or after January 1, 2019, for the same condition covered by the prior claim under clause (i), and the claim is approved pursuant to this section.
This means that if you do not have a claim that is currently pending a decision or on an appeal, you should file your VA disability claim(s) as soon as possible. Click here for a list of presumptive diseases associated with Agent Orange.
Please contact our office if you need assistance with your claim or appeal with Agent Orange Benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans.