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Tag: Agent Orange exposure

Yankee Station Agent Orange

Yankee Station Agent Orange – Blue Water veterans can now get presumptive service connection.

The Yankee Station

Yankee Station was a fixed coordinate off the coast of Vietnam where U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and support ships loitered in open waters.  Starting in April 1964, it was initially located at 16 degrees North latitude, 110 degrees East longitude.  However, with a massive increase in operations over North Vietnam in 1966, the military moved Yankee station about 145 miles northwest.  During the Vietnam War, Yankee Station served as a launch site for air strikes over North Vietnam where the aircraft carriers of Task Force 77 played a leading role in these strikes. 

Yankee Station was the northern Blue Water Navy staging area.  Its southern counterpart, Dixie Station, was in the South China Sea off the Mekong Delta.  The Yankee Station remained in use until August 1973.

Blue Water Navy

The Blue Water Navy refers to ships designed for open-ocean sailing.  The most perfect example of a Blue Water navy ship is the aircraft carrier, which can easily sail across an ocean but is less able to travel on inland waters.  Several aircraft carriers of the Seventh Fleet operated at Yankee Station.  In addition, numerous smaller ships assisted the carriers with support operations. 

Yankee Station & Dixie Station

At any given time, Yankee Station and Dixie Station included by two to four active duty carrier groups. Carrier crews varied in size depending on the class of the ship, but each carrier required a crew of about 3,000 to 5,500 men.  Therefore, thousands of sailors who served in the Blue Water Navy in Vietnam served aboard aircraft carriers.

Operation ranch hand, Agent Orange

During the Vietnam War, the United States military sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of various chemicals, including Agent Orange.  Known officially as Operation Ranch Hand, this mission was designed to clear trees and plants.  As a result, Agent Orange exposure has caused many health problems to those who came into contact with it.  By passing the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the U.S. government conceded a relationship between herbicide exposure and 14 medical conditions.  However, VA had interpreted this law to exclude Blue Water veterans who never set foot in Vietnam.

Effects of Agent Orange Exposure, Yankee Station

One of the most toxic byproducts of Agent Orange is called dioxin.  Dioxin is a highly-persistent chemical compound that lasts for many years in the environment.  Most human exposure is through food because dioxin accumulates in the fatty tissue of fish, birds and other animals.   However, exposure is also possible through airborne transmission.   Consequently, anyone who served at Yankee Station could have been exposed to Agent Orange.

VA presumes that the following conditions are related to exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange:

  1. Chronic B-cell leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  3. Multiple myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  5. Prostate cancer,
  6. Respiratory cancers, including lung cancer,
  7. Soft tissue sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid light-chain (AL amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes mellitus type 2,
  11. Ischemic heart disease,
  12. Parkinson’s disease,
  13. Peripheral neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria cutanea tarda.

In addition, VA presumes certain birth defects in children of Vietnam and Korea veterans are associated with Agent Orange exposure.  Until recently, VA refused to grant claims secondary to Agent Orange exposure for Navy veterans who served exclusively at Yankee Station.  However, January 1, 2020, this changed for the better.

Call Disability Help Group, 1-800-700-0652, If You Were Exposed to Agent Orange at Yankee Station or while serving.

You were most like exposed to Agent Orange if you served on Yankee Station.  Ships that fall into one of the following categories during the Vietnam War era probably qualify for Agent Orange exposure:

  1. primarily or exclusively on Vietnam’s inland waterways,
  2. temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways,
  3. docked to shore or pier in Vietnam,
  4. Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that crew members went ashore, and
  5. Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that smaller craft from the ship regularly delivered supplies or troops ashore.

Yankee Station Agent Orange Ships

The current list of Yankee Station Agent Orange Ships is available here, even if your ship is not listed, you can still prove exposure with the ship logs.  Furthermore, you can find Navy deck logs at the National Archives site by clicking this link.

If you answer “Yes” to the following questions call us immediately:

  • Did you serve on a Navy ship offshore Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975?
  • While you were on board, did the ship come within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnamese coast?
  • Do you have one of the 14 disabilities VA presumes related to herbicide exposure?

What If VA Denied My Claim?

Keep fighting!  After fighting for over 20 years, Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans are finally eligible for the same presumptions as those who served inland.  Firstly, VA’s previous denial does not necessarily mean that you don’t deserve benefits.  Secondly, VA may have misunderstood the law or overlooked evidence.  Thirdly, you might need just one more piece of evidence to complete the puzzle.  But the experts at Disability Help Group can guide you through the process. 

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Has VA ever denied your Agent Orange exposure claim because you are a Blue Water Navy veteran?  You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

Additional Articles You May Find Helpful

Blue Water Navy News

Blue Water Navy News regarding agent orange exposure.

What is Blue Water Agent Orange?

What is Blue Water Agent Orange? During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used herbicides such as Agent Orange to clear trees and plants.  The military sprayed Agent Orange by aircraft, trucks, and hand-sprayers.  It was very effective at removing foliage used by the enemy for cover and concealment.  Unfortunately, the herbicides also contaminated food and water, which eventually caused diseases for both soldiers on the ground and sailors in the water. Blue water veterans are members of the Navy that served within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam.

Agent Orange Byproduct

One of the most toxic byproducts of Agent Orange is called dioxin.  Dioxin is a highly-persistent chemical compound that lasts for many years in the environment.  Most human exposure is through food because dioxin accumulates in the fatty tissue of fish, birds and other animals.   However, you can also be exposed through airborne transmission.

 

Many health problems related to Agent Orange do not arise until years after service.  The longer it takes a veteran to file an Agent Orange claim, the more likely VA is to deny it.  If you are planning to file a claim many years after exposure, then you should hire an experienced representative to assist you.

Blue Water Navy News: Which Navy ships were likely exposed to Agent Orange?

Blue water navy news. VA has compiled a list of Navy and Coast Guard ships that were probably exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War era.  The list contains the following 5 categories of ships:

  1. operating primarily or exclusively on Vietnam’s inland waterways,
  2. operating temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways,
  3. docked to shore or pier in Vietnam,
  4. operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that crew members went ashore, and
  5. operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that smaller craft from the ship regularly delivered supplies or troops ashore.

Did you get sick because of Agent Orange exposure? Blue Water Navy News

In most circumstances, this is a medical question for your doctor.  However, if you served in Vietnam or 12 miles offshore between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, and you have any of the 14 disabilities, VA will concede a relationship to Agent Orange exposure:

  1. Chronic B-cell leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  3. Multiple myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  5. Prostate cancer,
  6. Respiratory cancers, including lung cancer,
  7. Soft tissue sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid light-chain (AL amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes mellitus type 2,
  11. Ischemic heart disease,
  12. Parkinson’s disease,
  13. Peripheral neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria cutanea tarda.

What if I served in Vietnam but I never left the ship? Blue water navy news.

On January 1, 2010, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 took effect.  Blue water navy news – This law made it easier for the Blue Water Navy veterans and their families to get disability benefits due to Agent Orange exposure.  If your answer to all of the following questions is “Yes”, then you are probably eligible for benefits under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act:

  • Did you serve on a Navy ship offshore Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975?
  • While you were on board, did the ship come within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnamese coast?
  • Do you have one of the 14 disabilities VA presumes related to Agent Orange exposure?

What if I never served in Vietnam?

You were likely exposed to Agent Orange if you served in the following locations during these times:

  • Korean Demilitarized Zone between April 1 1968 and August 31, 1971, and
  • Perimeters of U.S. military bases in Thailand between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.

If you have an illness secondary to Agent Orange exposure, then you may be eligible for a VA cash payment every month.  Contact us for a free consultation.

What If VA Denied My Claim?

Keep fighting!  After fighting for over 20 years, Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans are finally eligible for the same presumptions as those who served inland.  VA’s previous denial does not necessarily mean that you don’t deserve benefits.  VA may have misunderstood the law or overlooked evidence.  Alternatively, you might need just one more piece of evidence to complete the puzzle.  VA’s complex rules can make any veteran’s head spin.  But the experts at Disability Help Group can guide you through the process. 

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Has VA ever denied your Agent Orange exposure claim because you are a Blue Water Navy veteran?  You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

Additional Articles You May Find Helpful

Additional Information

Blue Water Navy Veterans

Blue Water Navy Veterans can now take advantage of the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Why is Agent Orange a Presumed VA Disability?

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used herbicides such as Agent Orange to clear trees and plants.  Due to the toxicity and inherent danger of the herbicides, the Agent Orange Act of 1991 was passed, whereby certain diseases are presumed to be related to in-service exposure to herbicides (including Agent Orange).  For over 20 years after the Agent Orange Act, VA split disabled Vietnam veterans into 2 distinct groups:

  1. Those who either set foot in Vietnam or served on boats patrolling inland waterways (also known as “Brown Water”), and
  2. Those who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam (also known as “Blue Water” veterans).

Brown Water Vietnam veterans enjoyed an easier path to VA disability benefits for certain disabilities.  Specifically, VA’s policy was to grant compensation to any Vietnam veteran who could prove the following:

  • Inland service in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, and
  • A diagnosis of one or more of the 14 specific medical conditions.

On January 29, 2019, this all changed for the better for Blue Water Navy Veterans

On January 29, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the Agent Orange Act of 1991 also applied to Blue Water veterans.  The Court found that the Act’s requirement for service in the Republic of Vietnam included both its landmass and its 12 nautical mile territorial sea.  In short, VA had been misinterpreting the law for over 20 years.  Because of VA’s mistake, it denied thousands of Agent Orange exposure claims involving Blue Water Vietnam veterans.  The Procopio case drastically changed the game for Blue Water veterans.  However, because court cases can be overturned, there was significant support in Congress to enact the Procopio holding into federal law.

Blue Water Navy Veterans Federal Law

On June 25, 2019, the President signed into law the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.  It took effect January 1, 2020.  This law made it easier for the Blue Water Navy veterans and their families to get disability benefits.  In addition, it gave the same presumptions to veterans who served in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from September 1, 1967 to August 31, 1971.

Are you an Eligible Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran?

If your answer to all of the following questions is “Yes”, then you are probably eligible for benefits under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act:

  • Did you serve on a Navy ship offshore Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975?
  • While you were on board, did the ship come within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnamese coast?
  • Do you have one of the 14 disabilities VA presumes related to herbicide exposure?

Which disabilities may be caused by Blue Water exposure?

VA presumes that the following conditions are related to exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange:

  1. Chronic B-cell leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  3. Multiple myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  5. Prostate cancer,
  6. Respiratory cancers, including lung cancer,
  7. Soft tissue sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid light-chain (AL amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes mellitus type 2,
  11. Ischemic heart disease,
  12. Parkinson’s disease,
  13. Peripheral neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria cutanea tarda.

If you have any of the 14 presumptive disabilities, and you served on a ship that operated within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam, then you may be entitled to disability compensation. 

What if VA denied my Blue Water claim years ago?

Let’s say you filed your first Blue Water Navy claim for prostate cancer in 1990.  In 1991, VA then denied your claim because you did not serve on the landmass or internal waterways of Vietnam.  You then file a new Blue Water Navy claim on February 20, 2020.  When VA grants your claim, it must be retroactive to the date of the 1990 claim.  This amounts to a 30-year retroactive period.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Has VA ever denied your Agent Orange exposure claim because you are a Blue Water Navy veteran?  You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

Additional Articles You May Find Helpful

Additional Information

Blue Water Veterans Get Agent Orange Benefits

Blue Water Veterans get Agent Orange Benefits as of January 1, 2020, when the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 took effect.

What is Agent Orange?

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used herbicides such as Agent Orange to clear trees and plants.  The military sprayed Agent Orange by aircraft, trucks, and hand-sprayers.  As a result, the spraying contaminated the food crops and water sources of both enemy combatants and nearby civilians.  Unfortunately, our own troops have suffered the most of the collateral damage from Agent Orange use.

Dioxin

One of the most toxic byproducts of Agent Orange is called dioxin, which is a highly-persistent chemical compound that lasts for many years in the environment.  Most human exposure is through food because dioxin accumulates in the fatty tissue of fish, birds and other animals.  However, you can also be exposed through airborne transmission.

 

Many health problems related to Agent Orange do not arise until years after service.  The longer it takes a veteran to file an Agent Orange claim, the more likely VA is to deny it.  If you are planning to file a claim many years after exposure, then you should hire an experienced representative to assist you.

Blue Water Veterans previously did not get Agent Orange presumption

For over 2 decades, the Agent Orange presumption extended only to veterans who either set foot in Vietnam or served on boats patrolling inland waterways (also known as “Brown Water”).  This excluded thousands of veterans who served on Navy ships offshore during the same period. 

Which Navy ships were likely exposed to Agent Orange?

VA compiled a list of Navy and Coast Guard ships that were probably exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War era.  The list contains the following 5 categories:

  1. operating primarily or exclusively on Vietnam’s inland waterways,
  2. operating temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways,
  3. docked to shore or pier in Vietnam,
  4. operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that crew members went ashore, and
  5. operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that smaller craft from the ship regularly delivered supplies or troops ashore.

Did You Get Sick Due to Agent Orange Exposure?

In most circumstances, this is a medical question for your doctor.  However, if you served in Vietnam or 12 miles offshore between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, and you have any of the 14 disabilities, VA will concede a relationship to Agent Orange exposure:

  1. Chronic B-cell leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  3. Multiple myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  5. Prostate cancer,
  6. Respiratory cancers, including lung cancer,
  7. Soft tissue sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid light-chain (AL amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes mellitus type 2,
  11. Ischemic heart disease,
  12. Parkinson’s disease,
  13. Peripheral neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria cutanea tarda.

What if I Served in Vietnam But I Never Left the Ship?

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 took effect, January 1, 2020.  This law made it easier for the Blue Water Navy veterans and their families to get disability benefits due to Agent Orange exposure.  If your answer to all of the following questions is “Yes”, then you are probably eligible for benefits under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act:

  • Did you serve on a Navy ship offshore Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975?
  • While you were on board, did the ship come within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnamese coast?
  • Do you have one of the 14 disabilities VA presumes related to Agent Orange exposure?

What if I Never Served in Vietnam?

Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were used, tested, and stored around the world, including some military bases in the United States.  If you served at the following locations in the respective time frames, then you were likely exposed to Agent Orange:

  • Korean Demilitarized Zone between April 1 1968 and August 31, 1971, and
  • Perimeters of U.S. military bases in Thailand between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.

What if VA Denied My Claim?

Keep fighting!  Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans are finally eligible for the same presumptions as those who served inland.  The VA’s previous denial does not mean that you don’t deserve benefits. The experts at Disability Help Group can guide you through the process. 

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

You may be entitled to significant compensation.

Additional Articles You May Find Helpful

Additional Information

Blue Water Agent Orange Update – 2020

What is Blue Water and Why Does it Matter?

Blue Water Agent Orange Update 2020. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used herbicides such as Agent Orange to clear trees and plants.  Unfortunately, herbicide exposure has caused a myriad of health problems to Vietnam veterans.  By passing the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the government conceded a relationship between herbicide exposure and 14 medical conditions.  However, VA interpreted the law to exclude Blue Water veterans of the Vietnam War.  Veterans advocates have sought an update ever since.

For over 20 years after the Agent Orange Act, VA split disabled Vietnam veterans into 2 distinct groups

  1. Those who either set foot in Vietnam or served on boats patrolling inland waterways (“Brown Water” veterans), and
  2. Those who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam (“Blue Water” veterans).

The Brown Water veterans enjoyed an easier path to VA disability benefits for certain disabilities.  Specifically, VA’s policy was to grant compensation to any Vietnam veteran who could prove the following:

  • Inland service in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, and
  • A diagnosis of one or more of the 14 specific medical conditions.

Until recently, this easier path was not available to Blue Water veterans.  However, on January 29, 2019, this all changed for the better.

The Case that Changed Blue Water Agent Orange

Blue Water Agent Orange Update – 2020. Alfred Procopio Jr. served on the USS Intrepid during the Vietnam War era.  He developed at least 3 of the 14 presumptive conditions covered by the Agent Orange Act.  Naturally, he filed claims based on his belief they were caused by in-service exposure to herbicides.  VA repeatedly denied his claims because he was a Blue Water veteran.  But Mr. Procopio refused to give up.  He appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).  After the CAVC rejected his appeal, he sought review in the Federal Circuit. 

Blue Water Agent Orange Update – 2020

On January 29, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the Agent Orange Act of 1991 also applied to Blue Water veterans.  The Court found that the Act’s requirement for service in the Republic of Vietnam included both its landmass and its 12 nautical mile territorial sea.  In short, VA had been misinterpreting the law for over 20 years.  Because of VA’s mistake, it denied thousands of Agent Orange exposure claims involving Blue Water Vietnam veterans.  The Procopio case drastically changed the game for Blue Water veterans.  However, because court cases can be overturned, there was significant support in Congress to enact the Procopio holding into federal law.

Blue Water Federal Law Agent Orange Update 2020

On June 25, 2019, the President signed into law the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.  It took effect January 1, 2020.  This law made it easier for the Blue Water Navy veterans and their families to get disability benefits.  In addition, it gave the same presumptions to veterans who served in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from September 1, 1967 to August 31, 1971.

Are You an Eligible Blue Water Vietnam Veteran?

If your answer to all of the following questions is “Yes”, then you are probably eligible for benefits under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act:

  • Did you serve on a Navy ship offshore Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975?
  • While you were on board, did the ship come within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnamese coast?
  • Do you have one of the 14 disabilities VA presumes related to herbicide exposure?

Which Disabilities Are Presumed Service Connected by Blue Water Exposure?

VA presumes that the following conditions are related to exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange:

  1. Chronic B-cell leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  3. Multiple myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  5. Prostate cancer,
  6. Respiratory cancers, including lung cancer,
  7. Soft tissue sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid light-chain (AL amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes mellitus type 2,
  11. Ischemic heart disease,
  12. Parkinson’s disease,
  13. Peripheral neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria cutanea tarda.

If you have any of the 14 presumptive disabilities, and you served on a ship that operated within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam, then you may be entitled to disability compensation. 

January 1, 2020, is When VA Starts Processing Blue Water Claims

What if VA Denied My Blue Water Claim Years Ago?

Many Blue Water Navy veterans gave up after VA kept denying their claims for lack of “boots-on-the-ground” service.  However, if VA approves a new claim pursuant to the new federal law, then VA must grant the rating effective the claim that was previously denied.  In a December 13, 2019 memorandum, VA’s Office of General Counsel confirmed that this will be VA’s interpretation for new Blue Water claims.  Blue Water Agent Orange Update – 2020

Retroactive period, Blue Water Agent Orange Update – 2020

Let’s say you filed your first Blue Water Navy claim for ischemic heart disease in 1991.  In 1992, VA then denied your claim because you did not serve on the landmass or internal waterways of Vietnam.  You then hire Disability Help Group to help file a new Blue Water Navy claim on January 17, 2020.  When VA grants your claim, it must be retroactive to the date of the 1991 claim.  This amounts to a 29-year retroactive period.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Has VA ever denied your Agent Orange exposure claim because you are a Blue Water Navy veteran?  You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

Additional Articles You May Find Helpful

Additional Information

FAQs

What are the 14 Blue Water Presumed Diseases?

Chronic B-Cell Leukemia,
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
Multiple Myeloma,
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
Prostate Cancer,
Respiratory Cancers, including Lung Cancer,
Soft Tissue Sarcomas,
Amyloid Light-Chain (AL Amyloidosis),
Chloracne,
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2,
Ischemic Heart Disease,
Parkinson’s Disease,
Peripheral Neuropathy, and
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.

Should I hire an advocate?

Most importantly, you should hire a disability expert that has argued hundreds of VA Compensation claims.

What is a veterans disability advocate?

A veterans disability advocate represents you before the VA. Hire a representative that has argued similar fact patterns to your case.

Can I get VA 100% for Blue Water Exposure?

Can I get VA 100% for Blue Water Exposure? Yes. Thanks to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 and the Agent Orange Act of 1991, certain diseases are presumed to be related to in-service exposure to herbicides (including Agent Orange).

Generally, a veteran must prove 3 elements for service connection

Before VA will assign a rating for a disability, a veteran must first prove the disability is related to service.  In general, VA will grant disability compensation if the following elements are met:

  1. current diagnosis,
  2. in-service event, disease or injury, and
  3. medical nexus between the first 2 elements.

Special rule, Agent Orange Act of 1991

Instead of proving the 3 elements listed above, a veteran only needs to prove:

  1. Inland service in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, and
  2. A diagnosis of one or more of the 14 presumptive conditions.

Limitation of Agent Orange Act of 1991

For over 2 decades, this presumption extended only to veterans who either set foot in Vietnam or served on boats patrolling inland waterways (also known as “Brown Water”).  This excluded thousands of veterans who otherwise would have received VA 100% due to blue water exposure while serving on Navy ships offshore during the same period.

Major win for veterans, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019

Everything changed on January 1, 2020, when the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 took effect. As a result, VA extended Agent Orange presumptions to veterans who served in the offshore waters of Vietnam, permitting veterans to get VA 100% for Blue Water Exposure.

What does the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act Mean?

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act requires VA to treat your Vietnam Agent Orange claims as if you served “boots-on-the-ground”.  If you have any of the 14 presumptive disabilities, and you served on a blue water ship that operated within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam, then you may be entitled to VA 100%. 

Presumed Disabilities Caused By Blue Water Exposure

VA presumes that the following conditions are related to blue water exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange:

  1. Chronic B-Cell Leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
  3. Multiple Myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
  5. Prostate Cancer,
  6. Respiratory Cancers, including Lung Cancer,
  7. Soft Tissue Sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid Light-Chain (AL Amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes Mellitus Type 2,
  11. Ischemic Heart Disease,
  12. Parkinson’s Disease,
  13. Peripheral Neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.

Which Presumptive Disabilities Can Be Rated VA 100% Due to Blue Water Exposure?

Below is the list of presumptive disabilities that can be rated VA 100% for Blue Water Exposure. Firstly, the criteria tells VA which ratings it may assign depending on how severe the symptoms are.  Secondly, the Schedule tells VA the maximum ratings for each disability.  Thirdly, VA may only assign a 100% rating for 10 of the 14 presumptive disabilities.   

Chronic B-cell Leukemia

VA will assign a 100% rating while the leukemia is active or during a treatment phase.  This rating continues for six months after the last treatment.  When the six-month period expires, VA will rate it as either anemia or aplastic anemia, whichever would result in the greater benefit.  Under DC 7700 for anemia, VA will grant a 100% rating for the following symptoms:

  • Hemoglobin level at 5gm/100ml or less, with findings such as high output congestive failure or dyspnea at rest.

Under DC 7716 for aplastic anemia, a 100% rating is warranted if it:

  • Requires bone marrow transplant,
  • Requires transfusion of platelets or red cells at least once every six weeks, or
  • Infections recurring at least once every six weeks.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers (including Lung Cancer), Soft Tissues Sarcomas

VA rates these Blue Water presumptive cancers identically.  In short, VA will grant a 100% rating for any one of these cancers while it is active or during a treatment phase.  This rating continues for six months after the last treatment.  Thereafter, VA will schedule an examination to assess the appropriate rating.If the disease does not become active again, VA will rate it based on the residuals.

Amyloid Light-Chain (AL Amyloidosis)

AL Amyloidosis is a rare disease that occurs when an abnormal protein builds up in organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and spleen.  There is no cure to AL Amyloidosis, which subsequently can lead to life-threatening organ failure.  VA will assign a 100% rating for this disability regardless of the current symptoms.

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

Depending on the symptoms, VA may assign either 10%, 20%, 40%, 60%, or 100% for diabetes mellitus type 2.  As a result, VA will grant a 100% rating for Blue Water Navy veterans if they require:

  • More than one daily injection of insulin,
  • A restricted diet,
  • Regulation of activities (avoidance of strenuous activities),
  • Either 3 hospitalizations per year OR weekly visits to diabetic care provider due to episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions, and
  • Treatment for progressive complications such as loss of weight or strength.

Ischemic Heart Disease

VA will assign a 100% rating if any of these requirements are met:

  • Chronic congestive heart failure;
  • workload of 3 METs or less results in dyspnea, fatigue, angina, dizziness, or syncope; or
  • left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction of less than 30%.

Examples of disabilities not eligible for 100% Rating

There are four diseases you cannot get a VA 100% rating for Blue Water Exposure. For example, the maximum rating for chloracne is 30%.  Another example is peripheral neuropathy, which maxes out at 80%.   VA may grant no more than 60% for porphyria cutanea tarda.  And then there is the rating criteria for Parkinson’s disease.  It starts with a minimum of 30%, but VA may grant additional ratings if there are severe residuals such as difficulty swallowing, speech problems, and bladder control problems. 

Call Disability Help Group, 1-800-700-0652

Additional Articles You May Find Helpful

Additional Information

FAQs

What are the 14 Blue Water Presumed Diseases?

Chronic B-Cell Leukemia,
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
Multiple Myeloma,
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
Prostate Cancer,
Respiratory Cancers, including Lung Cancer,
Soft Tissue Sarcomas,
Amyloid Light-Chain (AL Amyloidosis),
Chloracne,
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2,
Ischemic Heart Disease,
Parkinson’s Disease,
Peripheral Neuropathy, and
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.

Should I hire an advocate?

Most importantly, you should hire a disability expert that has argued hundreds of VA Compensation claims.

What is a veterans disability advocate?

A veterans disability advocate represents you before the VA. Hire a representative that has argued similar fact patterns to your case.

New Disabling Condition Linked to Agent Orange Exposure in Vietnam Veterans

It is presumed that nearly all veterans who served during the Vietnam War and were actively stationed in combat areas were exposed to Agent Orange at some point. The herbicide was so widely used that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) designated “Agent Orange presumptive diseases” associated with exposure to the defoliant chemical.

As more Vietnam veterans file veterans disability claims and join the Agent Orange Registry, VA doctors and research teams are learning more about the long-term effects of the deadly herbicide. Recently, researchers found an increased risk for a precursor to multiple myeloma, which is already among the conditions linked to the herbicide.

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a precursor disease to multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that attacks the plasma cells in bone marrow. A study reviewing 958 blood samples of U.S. Air Force personnel found that the personnel involved in Operation Ranch Hand were twice as likely to have developed MGUS than personnel not involved in the aerial spraying missions.

Of the 479 Operation Ranch Hand veterans, the prevalence of MGUS was 7.1 percent, compared to 3.1 percent in the veterans who did not participate in the operation. The cause of MGUS and multiple myeloma is still not largely understood. However, the findings of this and related studies involving farmers and agricultural workers has led researchers to suspect a link between pesticides and these conditions.

Disability Help Group Assists Vietnam Veterans Seeking Disability Benefits

The VA is still learning about new diseases and health conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. If you served during the Vietnam War in any capacity, there is a chance your disabling health conditions could be connected to Agent Orange exposure. Let The Disability Help Group review your military and medical records and help you file a veterans disability claim for benefits. Contact us at 1-(800)-800-3332.