On November 9, 2020, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California handed down a very important win to veterans who served within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam’s territorial waters and developed medical conditions because of their exposure to tactical herbicides used during the Vietnam war (such as Agent Orange).
This decision requires that VA automatically re-decide all claims of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and survivors that were previously denied for failure to show exposure to a tactical herbicide.
If VA grants a claim under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, then VA must assign an effective date (the date that benefit payments are calculated as starting) back to the date of the Veteran’s original claim for benefits for that disease. This means that a Navy veteran (or their qualifying survivor) who filed a claim in the 1970s but was wrongfully denied, may be entitled to decades of benefits!
If you believe that you may be affected by this law, VA should be reaching out to you within the coming months. However, you can call the VA’s customer service line at 1-800-698-2411.If you are being represented by an attorney or service officer, we strongly recommend that you contact that individual for advice specific to your case. A directory of accredited organizations can be found here .