Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

This Legislation Could Be Lifesaving to North Carolina's Vietnam Navy Veterans

June 29, 2018
Blog Post
The House passes the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018 to extend benefits to Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans.

By Mitchell Whitley

Forgotten, pain-ridden, helpless, troubled. For decades, many Vietnam War veterans who didn’t specifically serve through boots on the ground but rather served off the Vietnamese coast on board military vessels, have been forced to relive the after effects of herbicide agents such as the infamous Agent Orange. In both physical and financial instability, these men and women have continually been denied the proper care and treatment they need. However, all of that changes very soon.

H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, passed the House on June 25th to finally bring a happy ending to these brave soldiers’ stories. Beginning on January 1st, 2019, this legislation would make the following seven specific new changes:

Step 1: “Extend the presumption of service connection for disease associated with exposure to herbicide agents to Blue Water Navy veterans and veterans who served in or near the Korean DMZ between September 1, 1967, and April 1, 1968”

Step 2: “Conduct outreach to inform Blue Water Navy veterans of the ability to submit a new claim for disability benefits; (3) authorize VA to provide retroactive benefits to certain veterans and survivors who had previously filed a claim for benefits based on exposure to herbicides”

Step 3: “Authorize VA to provide retroactive benefits to certain veterans and survivors who had previously filed a claim for benefits based on exposure to herbicides”

Step 4: “Extend certain benefits to a child who was born with spina bifida, if at least one parent of such child was a veteran who served in Thailand between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, and the Secretary determined that at least one of the parents may have been exposed to a herbicide agent during such service in Thailand”

Step 5: “Submit reports to HVAC and SVAC on: claims filed by Blue Water Navy veterans, the military installations located in Thailand between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, at which an herbicide agent was actively used and the period of such use, and the Follow-up Study of a National Cohort of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans under VA’s epidemiology program”

Step 6: “Make improvements to VA’s Home Loan Guaranty program to ensure that veterans can use their home loan benefits in high-cost areas and receive appraisals in a timely and cost-efficient manner”

Step 7: “And would extend the waiver of the home loan funding fee to active duty service members who are Purple Heart recipients.”

According to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs:

“Agent Orange is a herbicide used during the Vietnam era that has been known to be associated with certain health issues in people who have been exposed to the chemical. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 said that if a veteran served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 and has a disease that has been associated with exposure to Agent Orange, they are automatically presumed to have a been exposed to it and therefore qualify for disability compensation. The Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2018 would extend the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to veterans who served in the Blue Water Navy. “

Ryan Walker, the legislative director for Congressman Mark Walker said, “For a good time now, we have been looking at ways to help service veterans that specifically served off the coast of Vietnam within the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. These members of the armed forces have been unable to receive proper treatment and care from the VA due too not specifically being on land during the war. In result, they must face serious health problems seemingly alone. However, I am happy to report that the House of Representatives and the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs have come to an agreement on this resolution. Congressman Walker and his team look forward to achieving more victories for veterans like this because we believe it is a basic function of Congress to gain benefits such as this for some of our nation’s bravest men and women.”

 

Issues: