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December 7, 2019

Blue Water Navy Vets – UPDATE

Last updated on December 21, 2022

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The term Blue Water Navy Veterans were Veterans that served on the shores of Vietnam during the Vietnam Era. The Veterans that served this period also were exposed to Agent Orange, which caused many health defects years later. 

For 50 years, approximately up to 560,000 Veterans that served in the Vietnam Era will be celebrating from a very long wait. Back on June 25, 2019, President Trump signed a new law H.R. (House of Representatives). 299, is referred to as the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which awarded presumptive benefits status that place from 1962 and 1975. The Veterans that we are referring to are Blue Water Navy Vets. 

Military Veterans who served during 1962 and 1975, you will now be able to receive compensation as starting January 1, 2020, finally. Many affected Veterans are dying, and it’s great news to know that they will eventually get compensated.

blue water navy vets

The Process of getting to Blue Water Navy Vets update

I know you’re asking — why did it take 50 years for the V.A. to grant compensation? Firstly, let’s revisit the Agent Orange Act 1991 that presumed that the Veterans that were Blue Water Navy Veterans exposed to dangerous chemicals. A case called Procopio versus Wilkie proved that it the point that Agent Orange was correlated to the Blue Water Navy Process.

Additionally, hundreds and thousands of Veterans were exposed back in the 1960s and 1970s. Imagine you were serving the shores of Vietnam fighting for the U.S., and after all is said and done, you start to develop diseases years down the road but don’t know why. It was a challenge to accumulate the data back in the 1960s-1970s versus today. 

For a long time, the V.A. has denied any herbicide exposure to affected Veterans according to the 2008 case of Haas vs. Peak, which can be read here

On January 29, 2019, a fantastic event happened as Vets celebrated that the Procopio vs. Wilkie’s case overturned the Hass vs. Peak case. The event was a massive milestone that Vets had wanted to hear for a very long time. The result was that more veterans are now eligible for compensation, which will be easier to obtain and entitled. What a huge victory!

What is H.R. 299?

The House of Representatives 299 law signed by President Trump in June 2019 was a turn-around point for many Blue Water Navy Veterans. The long-drawn-out fight was coming to an end. HR 299 is also called the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. The reason why this is a victory is that Agent Orange Exposure was linked.

Any Veteran who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, are affected by the exposure to Agent Orange and if they are diagnosed with a medical condition, according to the Agent Orange Act of 1991. Some of the medical conditions are Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. The catch is that H.R. 299 applies to only Veterans who served on Vietnam’s land and their inland waterways. H.R. 299 also extends the additional benefits to any military personal who served on a vessel within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam’s coastlines. It is essential to take note of the location and how near the Veteran was affected by the exposure.

Military spouses that were survived by their spouse who died caused by the service-connection disability will also have access to benefits. The bill will also provide children of the Vets who suffer from spina bifida to have access to health care, a monthly allowance, and vocational rehabilitation.

Blue Water Navy Vet Symptoms

The following are likely symptoms that deal with Agent Orange Exposure according to the VA:

Amyloidosis, Chronic B-Cell Leukemia, Diabetes Type II, Parkinson’s Disease, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers, including Lung Cancer, Soft Tissue Sarcomas. 

Any of these symptoms mentioned above will have a service-connection. More in-depth information is at the V.A.’s website here 

What’s Next?

H.R. 299 was signed into effect by President Trump in June in 25, 2019, a month later, V.A. Secretary Robert Wilke, caused a delay for disability compensation until January 1, 2020. The reasoning behind Robert Wilke is because he wants to ensure that the V.A. has all of the proper resources. It was also more time to have his team be ready for the influx of thousands and thousands of Veterans. The news after a month caused a lot of disappointment, knowing that Veterans were hoping to see a way-ahead sooner than later.

Advocates think the delay wasn’t necessary since all of the resources are readily available. The delay is causing angst with affected Vets already suffering medical ailments, and if they are not resolved promptly, they may not receive a check and will affect their family left behind.

Also, many advocates believe that when claims start to appear in January 2020, that the payments may take a long time because of the processing times. The requests will be highly scrutinized at all levels and will anticipate in the hundreds of thousands per week. The overwhelming response will surely have the V.A. streamlining their process.

What’s Next?

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