The Battle of Blue Water Veteran AidTuesday, March 19, 2019
Blue Water Navy veterans have battled with the Department of Veterans Affairs for years to receive the same care as others who served in the Vietnam War and were exposed to Agent Orange. The only difference? Blue Water veterans did not serve on land in Vietnam, but served exclusively on ships in the waters surrounding Vietnam and are being denied compensation and care.
In January, the Court of Appeals for the federal Circuit ruled that Blue Water veterans would be eligible for benefits to treat illnesses related Agent Orange exposure. The Justice Department and Department of Veterans Affairs have until the end of the month to appeal this decision.
Meanwhile, ten separate veterans’ organizations (including Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion) recently pleaded with President Trump to help them win the battle and to not appeal. This decision could impact up to 70,000 veterans who served in the Vietnam war, but are currently not receiving benefits.
The house unanimously voted in favor of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act last year, but VA Secretary Robert Wilkie advised that there is insufficient evidence that Blue Water veterans did, in fact, have exposure to Agent Orange. This, along with the high cost in providing veterans with care, has stalled legislation in Senate.
The VA previously argued that since these veterans did not serve on land, they could not have been exposed to Agent Orange, which has been linked to several types of cancers and degenerative diseases. For years, these Blue Water vets have had their VA Claims denied simply because they never set foot on land. These veterans put their life on the line for their country only to return with a plethora of diseases as a result of their service. They deserve to receive the same benefits others who have done the same.
We have previously posted about Blue Water vets and the pain and suffering they have endured throughout the years trying to obtain access to the health care they deserve. To view this previous blog post, please click here.
If you or a loved one are a Blue Water veteran and need assistance in obtaining or receiving benefits through the VA, please contact the experienced lawyers at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco, and Rosasco at 855-280-7586 for a free no-obligation consultation.