The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 took effect on January 1, 2020. This law extends benefits for eligible veterans and survivors, and certain dependents.

If you are a Vietnam-era Veteran who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam, defined as within 12 nautical miles of shore, or who had service in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), you may be entitled to disability compensation for conditions that are related to your exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides. Eligible survivors may also be entitled to benefits.

Veterans seeking benefits for herbicide exposure must show that they are currently diagnosed with at least one of the conditions currently recognized by VA as presumed to have been caused by herbicide exposure. Veterans with secondary disabilities caused by these presumptive conditions, or by the treatment for these presumptive conditions, may also be eligible for benefit.

Presumptive conditions include:

  • Bladder cancer, chronic B-cell leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, and some soft tissue sarcomas
  • AL amyloidosis, chloracne, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypothyroidism, ischemic heart disease, Parkinsonism, Parkinson’s disease, early-onset peripheral neuropathy, and porphyria cutanea tarda

This law expands the scope of eligibility for these benefits. If you previously submitted a claim related to a condition caused by herbicide exposure and it was denied, you are encouraged to file again. If you are a Veteran, survivor, or dependent who meets previous eligibility requirements, but have not yet filed a claim, you are also encouraged to submit a claim.

In addition, as part of the Blue Water Navy legislation, Congress also authorized changes to the VA Home Loan benefit beginning on January 1, 2020 for ALL eligible Veterans. These include an increased ability for veterans to obtain no-down payment VA loans and removal of the loan limit on VA Native American Direct loans, among others.

For more information, review the VA’s website addressing Agent Orange exposure and its presumptive conditions, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act Fact Sheet, and FAQs.

To discuss how this change can affect you or your loved ones, schedule a benefits counseling session with a Navy Mutual VSO Representative by visiting us here.