‘Blue Water’ Navy vets approved to receive Agent Orange benefits
By Tammy Javenkoski
Oneida County Veterans Service Officer
The VA is preparing to process Agent Orange exposure claims for “Blue Water” Navy veterans who served offshore of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. These veterans may be eligible for presumption of herbicide exposure through Public Law 116-23, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. This legislation was signed into law by President Trump last month and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. They may also qualify for service-connected disability benefits if they have a disease that is recognized as being associated with herbicide exposure. The bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act gives the VA until Jan. 1, 2020, to begin deciding Blue Water Navy related claims.
Blue Water Navy veterans are encouraged to submit disability compensation claims for conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure. Blue Water Navy veterans who were previously denied for an Agent Orange related presumptive condition can file a new claim based on the change in law. Eligible surviving spouses of deceased Blue Water Navy veterans may also file claims for benefits based on the veteran’s service.
The new law affects veterans who served on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, as defined in Public Law 116-23. An estimated 420,000 to 560,000 Vietnam-era veterans may be considered Blue Water Navy veterans.
To qualify under the new law, veterans must have a disease associated with herbicide exposure, as listed in 38 Code of Federal Regulations section 3.309(e).
Agent Orange presumptive conditions are AL amyloidosisn chloracne or similar acneform disease (manifested within one year of last exposure to Agent Orange), chronic B-cell leukemias, diabetes mellitus Type 2, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ischemic heart disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, early-onset (manifested within one year of last exposure to Agent Orange), porphyria cutanea tarda (manifested within one year of last exposure to Agent Orange), prostate cancer, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea), soft tissue sarcoma (other than osteaosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and mesothelioma).
Blue Water Navy veterans are also now automatically eligible for VA health care but just like a service-connected disability claim, it must be applied for.
Tammy Javenkoski can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at the same number or email@example.com, or you can contact us via Facebook at www.facebook.com/oneidacvso.
Vilas County residents can contact Brian Thomas at (715) 479-3629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Deborah Eicher, Deputy CVSO, can be reached at the same number or email@example.com.