Updated: Oct 6
It’s official. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (Public Law 116-23) took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. This new law extends the presumption of exposure to herbicides to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam.
Eligible Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veterans will be able to apply for disability compensation and other benefits if they served in this designated area between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 and developed one of 14 illnesses related to contact with herbicides such as Agent Orange. In addition, Veterans who served in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone between Sept. 1, 1967 and Aug. 31, 1971, may also qualify for benefits for themselves and their family members.
With the implementation of the BWN Act on Jan. 1, VA will immediately begin deciding claims to deliver benefits to eligible Veterans and survivors. VA will continue to provide excellent customer service to all Veterans throughout this process. BWN claims will be processed under current prioritization with special priority given to BWN Veterans over age 85 or those who have a terminal condition.
This video offers a brief overview of benefits and answers a few frequently asked questions: https://youtu.be/voWU8Q-J0MA
Download the BWN Act Fact Sheet: https://www.va.gov/Blue_Water_Navy_Factsheet.pdf#
Learn about benefits for spouses, dependents, and parents: https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/
Learn about the 14 conditions related to herbicide exposure: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/related-diseases/
Visit the VA’s Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act information page: https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/blue-water-navy.asp
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act also includes changes to the Loan Guaranty program for all Veterans, not just Blue Water Navy Veterans. To learn more about those changes, please visit the BWN Loan Guaranty Landing Page.
If you’re a veteran or you care for someone who served in Vietnam, it’s worth your time to check out these new benefits. If you need help, just give Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law a call.