VA Drops Appeal of Blue Water Decision
The Department of Veterans Affairs will not appeal a January court ruling that ordered it to provide health care and disability benefits for 90,000 veterans who served on Navy ships during the Vietnam War, likely paving the way for "Blue Water Navy" sailors and Marines to receive Agent Orange-related compensation and VA-paid health care benefits.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in late March that he will recommend the Justice Department not fight the decision, handing a victory to ill former service members who fought for years to have their diseases recognized as related to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.
On January 29, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit passed a new law in late January that will now allow veterans who served within twelve nautical miles of the Republic of Vietnam to be entitled to service connected benefits based upon a condition that is presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange. This is also a win for the eligible survivors of these veterans.
Prior to this decision, only those veterans with "boots on the ground" were entitled presumptively to benefits related to certain conditions; however, "boots on the ground" is no longer a requirement to receive benefits for the following conditions if the veteran served within the designated twelve nautical miles.
- diabetes type II
- soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
- Hodgkin's disease
- multiple myeloma
- respiratory cancers
- non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- prostate cancer
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- hairy cell leukemia
- AL amyloidosis
Read the fifty-page case. The decision appears on page 19.
This article on Military.com explains more.
If you have questions about an elderly loved one's eligibility for VA benefits, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law may be able to help. Just give us a call at 615.824.2571.