Blue Water Benefits May Be Delayed

Just about a year ago, I posted that it appeared that Blue Water Navy Veterans of the Vietnam War would be eligible for Disability Compensation for conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange to the same extent as veterans whose boots had been on the ground.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which was signed into law  on June 25, 2019,  applies to Navy veterans who served offshore from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975. The veterans had to have served on a vessel that was no more than 12 nautical miles from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, and have a disease that is recognized by the VA as being associated with herbicide exposure, according to the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Now, it looks as though those veterans may need to wait until 2020 to actually receive the benefits.   Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie ordered a stay on the implementation of the law until amendments to the statute go into effect on January 1.

Even though claims that are now authorized by the Blue Water Act will not be acted on before the end of this year, I encourage veterans to submit those with claims as soon as possible, so they will be in the queue. The claims of veterans who are over age 85, and those will life-threatening diseases will be processed first.

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