New Bill Extends Agent Orange Benefits to Blue Water Navy Veterans

In June of 2019, President Donald Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act into law. The bill, which is commonly referred to as the Blue Water Navy Act, expanded medical care and benefits to many Blue Water Navy (BWN) veterans and other military personnel who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

Who is Eligible Under BWN Coverage?

Under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, individuals who served between 1962 and 1975 within 12 nautical miles of Cambodia or Vietnam may now qualify for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure. The Act applies to all veterans, including Marines, air service members, and other military personnel who served on Navy ships.

In order to qualify for coverage, a veteran must suffer from an illness which is on the presumptive list for service connection due to Agent Orange exposure during their active duty military service. This includes Hodgkin’s disease, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and various types of cancers including prostate cancer. A full list of Agent-Orange-related illnesses can be found on VA’s website. Even for diseases not on the Agent Orange presumptive list, veterans may be able to establish entitlement to service connection if a medical professional links their disability to the presumed Agent Orange exposure.

What Benefits are Available to BWN Veterans?

Former servicemembers who qualify under the Blue Water Navy Act may be eligible for various disability benefits in addition to monthly compensation. For example, qualifying veterans may be entitled to health care benefits, including health exams and clinical treatments at VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers. They may also qualify for other benefits such as rehabilitation, educational benefits, and home loans.

How to Apply for VA Disability Benefits

To qualify for VA disability benefits, a veteran will need to file a claim with supporting evidence such as hospital bills, private medical records, and testimony about their level of impairment from medical or vocational experts. After submitting a claim, VA will review your case and decide if you are eligible for disability compensation.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help

Identifying and gathering evidence for a VA claim can be challenging for many veterans. The knowledgeable legal team at VetLaw can advise you on what evidence to gather for your claim and help you receive the benefits that you deserve if you are met with a denial from VA. To talk to an experienced VA-accredited lawyer, contact VetLaw today.