On 22 July, the Military-Veterans Advocacy, a nonprofit legal organization which had a major role in overturning the VA’s decision not to process Blue Water Navy veterans’ Agent Orange claims through a remarkable legal action (Procopio vs. Wilkie), is now asking a federal judge to rescind a stay on Blue Water Navy claims processing imposed by Secretary Wilkie, aided and abetted by the U.S. Congress for good or ill. Read the rest of this entry »
As a result of Public Law 116-23, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 signed into law on 25 June, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — having finally acknowledged its responsibility to attend to Blue Water Navy as a result of a recent court decision — has been given a short reprieve on “Blue Water Navy” claims decisions.
The U.S. Congress, which previously lacked the courage to act on this longstanding issue until after that court decision, now gives the VA until 1 January 2020 to begin deciding Blue Water Navy related claims for those who served in the territorial waters of the Republic of Vietnam (defined in the Act) between 9 January 1962 and 7 May 1975. The VA has stated that veterans over age 85 or with life-threatening illnesses are to have priority in claims processing.
From another point of view, this action gives the VA the necessary time to ensure it has the proper resources to process an anticipated onslaught of veteran and survivor claims. During previous testimony, it was estimated that between 52,000 and 90,000 veterans were affected. For some reason, it is now estimated that between 420,000 and 560,000 Vietnam-era veterans may be considered Blue Water Navy veterans.
However, these affected veterans are encouraged to submit their disability compensation claims for conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure now. And, those veterans who previously were denied for an Agent Orange related presumptive conditions should file a new claim based upon this change in law. Eligible survivors of Blue Water Navy veterans may also benefit from the new law and should consider resubmitting their claims if previously denied. We still recommend you consult an accredited Veterans Service Officer — and not do this action on your own to ensure a thorough review of your situation.
Understand that under the new law, the veteran must have a disease associated with herbicide exposure, as listed in 38 Code of Federal Regulations section 3.309(e). The presumptive conditions which currently apply are:
- AL amyloidosis
- Chloracne or similar acneform disease
- Chronic B-cell leukemias
- Diabetes mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease
- Ischemic heart disease
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy, early-onset
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Prostate cancer
- Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea)
- Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma).
For more information, visit www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/vietnam-waters/.
As of 5 July 2019
On 5 June 2019, the VA finally announced the new rules of the game for three vital services under the MISSION Act of 2018: Read the rest of this entry »
Veterans with a service-connected disability rating can enter federal parks for free with a Lifetime National Parks Access Pass, which is not not hard to get. Those with a disability rating of 10 per cent or higher are eligible. Good for entry into over 400 national parks and 2,000 recreation sites across the country, the Lifetime Access Pass is the National Park Service’s way of saying thank you to our veterans for their service and sacrifices. Read the rest of this entry »
It is often forgotten — despite eye care being, amazingly, the Veteran Health Administration’s third busiest program — that if you are enrolled in VA healthcare, you are eligible for diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic eye care services, regardless of your priority group. You may also be eligible to receive eyeglasses and medically necessary contact lenses, if the ophthalmologist/ optometrist determines the need. Read the rest of this entry »
Verbatim from the TRICARE.mil website
Missed TRICARE Open Season? There’s Still Time to Act!
If you missed TRICARE Open Season, you still have time to enroll. For this year only, you can enroll in or change your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan through Dec. 31, 2018 for coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2019. You may also change your type of enrollment, like switching from individual to family coverage. Read the rest of this entry »