VA to Re-Adjudicate Blue Water Claims!

by | May 14, 2021 | Blog, Blue Water, Military Spouse, News, Veteran's Benefits

VA to Re-Adjudicate Blue Water Claims!

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has announced that they will re-adjudicate claims for any Veteran who served in the waters of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

In November 2020, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California ruled in the favor of thousands of Blue Water Veterans and their survivors in response to the motion filed by attorneys from the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP).

The court directly ordered the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to re-adjudicate benefits claims that were unfortunately denied due to the Class Action Consent Decree in Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Administration.

The VA is now tasked with having to decide if benefit payments can be made retroactively based upon presumptive conditions due to exposure to a toxic herbicide.

 

What is Re-Adjudication? 

Re-adjudication, or to re-adjudicate, in this scenario, means the Department of Veteran’s Affairs will take the necessary time to review any recorded evidence and provide updated decisions for the various cases of Veteran’s who were sadly once denied benefits for one or more herbicide-related conditions due to the fact that their service did not directly take place in proximity the VA deemed worthy. The VA also noted that this review applies to any eligible survivors of a deceased Vietnam Veteran. In a statement, the VA said they’re “dedicated to ensuring all Veterans receive the benefits they have earned.”

 

Agent Orange & The U.S. MIlitary: An Explanation of History

During the Vietnam War (1961 to 1973), the United States military decided to use a group of color-coded herbicides to defoliate the jungle and destroy crops that were being used for the cover or food for the Vietcong. Most chemicals naturally degraded, however TCDD, a component referred to as dioxin, did not. Dioxin is known to remain in the human body for roughly as long as twenty (20) years and its estimated survival in rivers and/or ponds is more than 100 years. Companies that produced this herbicide have stated that they didn’t know about any debilitating long-term effects for humans.

Agent Orange use began with a test on August 10th, 1961 and the United States Air Force began to use it as a functional weapon by aerial spray, from 1962 to 1971. Over 85% of Agent Orange was used this way, more specifically from C-123 cargo planes.

The areas that were sprayed were South Vietnam, and regions that bodies bordered Cambodia and Laos. The remaining percentage was deployed by helicopters, trucks, and also by hand, in and around military bases.

The United States decided to stop using Agent Orange in October of 1971, and in turn, it was also no longer produced.

Any existing supply/supplies were subsequently destroyed but, it was already too late, as many veterans were exposed and now suffer from horrific long-term illnesses.

What Diseases are Linked to Agent Orange?

The United States Institute of Medicine has reported exposure to dioxin to be related to five diseases and noting that there could be several more. Those include the following:

  • Soft-tissue Sarcoma.
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
  • Chronic lymphocytic Leukemia.
  • Hodgkin’s Disease.
  • Chloracne.
  • Prostate Cancer.
  • Multiple Myeloma.
  • Amyloidosis.
  • Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.
  • Ischemic Heart Disease.
  • Hypertension.
  • Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy.
  • Cancer of the larynx, lung, bronchi, or trachea.
  • Spina Bifida.

The Vietnamese Red Cross has stated that they recognized dioxin exposure with the following diseases:

  • Liver Cancer.
  • Lipid Metabolism Disorder.
  • Birth Defects: Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate, Hydrocephalus, Neural Tube Defects, Fused Digits, Muscle Malformations, and Paralysis.

Veterans who are suffering from, or were recently diagnosed with any of the diseases listed below, may be able to seek relief due to the decisions made in the Nehmer class action suits. Some Vietnam veterans were subsequently awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars retroactively as economical benefits due to Agent Orange.

This is also inclusive of Blue Water, as well as any children of a veteran that may have sadly been born with disabling birth defects.

Please see the specified list of diseases below:

  • Heart Disease.
  • Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Chronic B-Cell Leukemia

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