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Blue Water Vietnam Veterans

"Blue Water Navy" Vietnam Veterans may now be eligible for service connected disability benefits
Monday, April 15, 2019 | 08:40am


Background:
On January 29th, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange should extend to Blue Water Vietnam Veterans. Blue Water Vietnam Veterans are Veterans who served on a Navy or Coast Guard ship in or around Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Do I Qualify?
Veterans who can show they served within the 12 nautical miles of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 may be eligible for service connected disability benefits for the herbicide related diseases currently recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A survivor of a Veteran affected by this decision may also be entitled to certain survivor benefits.

What herbicide related diseases are currently recognized by VA?
Several cancers and illnesses are believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange. For a full list of herbicide related diseases that are currently recognized by the VA, please visit the VA’s Diseases Related to Agent Orange website.

When will the VA begin processing claims for benefits?
Veterans who believe they qualify may file a claim at any time for benefits with a Veterans Resource Coordinator (VRC) at a Tennessee Department of Veterans Services (TDVS) State Veterans Services Office in their region. However, it may be some time before the VA begins to process these claims.

How can I prove my eligibility?
Qualifying Veterans must prove that they served within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnam landmass between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. You can visit the VA’s Agent Orange Ships List which includes many ships docked in Vietnam and may be used as evidence to make a claim. Deck logs may also be used to prove eligibility and can be requested through the Naval History and Heritage Command’s website. A TDVS Veterans Resource Coordinator can assist you in finding this information.

How will the VA determine the effective date of benefits?
This is currently unknown. However, the earliest effective date allowed under law may be January 29, 2019. A VRC at a TDVS State Veterans Services Office may be able to help you determine the most likely effective date and to assist you in navigating retroactive effective dates.

Who can I contact if I have questions?
Set up an appointment with your local TDVS State Veterans Services Office or submit a Customer Inquiry to our department.

Click here for a downloadable and printable Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Fact Sheet.