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VA Reaching Out to Blue Water Navy Vets Previously Denied Benefits

VA Reaching Out to Blue Water Navy Vets Previously Denied Benefits
The USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), underway in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

The Department of Veterans Affairs will soon mail letters to Blue Water Navy veterans and survivors who were previously denied benefits. The letters provide updated eligibility requirements approved in the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, the paperwork required of a veteran or survivor, and available resources to assist in the claims process.

The law says that veterans who served offshore of the Republic of Vietnam from 1962-1975 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other harmful herbicides. Exposure to these herbicides have been linked to a list of several harmful medical conditions:

  • AL amyloidosis
  • Chloracne or similar acneform disease
  • Chronic B-cell leukemias
  • Diabetes mellitus Type 2
  • Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early-onset
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea)
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma).

 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a separate ruling on Blue Water Navy veterans, allowing veterans and their survivors to begin receiving benefits immediately. However, the VA placed a stay on deciding claims until Jan. 1. Officials at the VA said it was to ensure all claims get adjudicated accurately.

The Veterans Benefits Administration has confirmed payments will begin being processed on Jan. 1, 2020. If you are a Blue Water Navy veteran or survivor, you do not need to wait until the new year to apply.

Start now by clicking on the letter variation below that pertains to you or a loved one and follow the instruction to submit or resubmit our claim.

 

The VA is prioritizing claims for people who are homeless, terminally ill, over the age of 85, or in a dire financial situation. If this pertains to you or someone you know, be sure to notify the veterans service office you are working with when resubmitting the claim.

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About the Author

Cory Titus

Cory Titus separated from the Army in 2017 as a captain and is MOAA's associate director, currently serving and retired affairs. He is currently studying social entrepreneurship at George Mason University with a focus on improving military financial education.