Blue Water Vets Gain Agent Orange Benefits

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It passed! H.R. 299, known as the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, is now Public Law 116-23. It extends disability benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans who were presumed to be exposed to Agent Orange between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. It will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020 when the VA will begin processing claims.

Here are some of the specifics you need to know:
If you were on a vessel within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnam or Cambodian coasts, you may be eligible for presumption of exposure.

You also may be eligible if you have any of the diseases previously connected with Agent Orange: AL amyloidosis, chloracne or similar acneform disease, chronic B-cell leukemias, diabetes mellitus Type 2, Hodgkin lymphoma, ischemic heart disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, early-onset peripheral neuropathy porphyria cutanea tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea) and some soft-tissue sarcomas.

If you applied for AO disability and were turned down, file again. Eligible survivors should also file. If you’re age 85 or older and you are ill, your claims will be processed first.
We can thank in part the Institute of Medicine, which was asked years ago to determine whether shipboard veterans could possibly have been exposed to AO, and if so, how. The answer was in the water distillers that converted sea water into water used on the vessel for showers, coffee, laundry, etc. They called it a “plausible pathway of exposure.”
To determine if you’re eligible for benefits, go online to www.va.gov and put Blue Water Veterans in the search box. Look for the first link, titled Agent Orange Exposure in Vietnam Waters (Blue Navy Veterans). You also can contact your Veteran Service Office or call the VA at 800-827-1000. And keep an eye on www.bwnvva.org, the Blue Water Navy Association website.

Here are some of the specifics you need to know:
If you were on a vessel within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnam or Cambodian coasts, you may be eligible for presumption of exposure.
You also may be eligible if you have any of the diseases previously connected with Agent Orange: AL amyloidosis, chloracne or similar acneform disease, chronic B-cell leukemias, diabetes mellitus Type 2, Hodgkin lymphoma, ischemic heart disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, early-onset peripheral neuropathy porphyria cutanea tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea) and some soft-tissue sarcomas.

If you applied for AO disability and were turned down, file again. Eligible survivors should also file. If you’re age 85 or older and you are ill, your claims will be processed first.
We can thank in part the Institute of Medicine, which was asked years ago to determine whether shipboard veterans could possibly have been exposed to AO, and if so, how. The answer was in the water distillers that converted sea water into water used on the vessel for showers, coffee, laundry, etc. They called it a “plausible pathway of exposure.”
To determine if you’re eligible for benefits, go online to www.va.gov and put Blue Water Veterans in the search box. Look for the first link, titled Agent Orange Exposure in Vietnam Waters (Blue Navy Veterans). You also can contact your Veteran Service Office or call the VA at 800-827-1000. And keep an eye on www.bwnvva.org, the Blue Water Navy Association website.

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