Veterans: Another attempt at Legislation to help Blue Water navy Vets exposed to Agent Orange

Senator Gillibrand  (D - New York)  has recently introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate that is identical to the Agent Orange Equity Act introduced in the House by Representative Filner (D - California) earlier this year.  The legislation would allow navy sailors and airmen exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam to seek disability benefits for the diseases and conditions that have resulted from that exposure. Agent Orange was a defoliant used in Vietnam; it was used to kill the vegetation so that our troops could locate the enemy, and was used to remove the dense vegetation that served as cover and concealment for enemy soldiers in that war.  Veterans that have set a boot on land in Vietnam, and who were exposed to Agent Orange, are entitled to presumptive service connection of certain disabling medical conditions.  In other words, if you have a medical condition on the VA list, and you can prove exposure to Agent Orange while on soil in Vietnam, you are (generally) entitled to disability benefits, medical care, and any number of additional potential benefits. Problem is, not every soldier exposed to Agent Orange puts "boots on land".  Many Navy sailors were exposed to Agent Orange on ships where it was stored, transported, etc. Airmen who never set foot on soil, but spent plenty of time loading or unloading Agent Orange onto aircraft aren't entitled to benefits.   These "blue water" vets are not entitled to the presumptive service connection described above. For a short time, it looked like there would be relief for these Blue Water Navy vets.  In August 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) held in Haas v. Peake (then Nicholson), that Blue Water Navy Veterans are entitled to disability benefits for disease related to exposure to Agent Orange. The VA appealed that decision to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the CAVC in May 2008.  In June 2008, the veteran in that case sought a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.  In January 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the writ of certiorari, seemingly ending the ability for Blue Water Vets to seek relief through the judicial system. The legislative branch hasn't been much better.  In years past, legislation has been introduced.  That legislation has failed.  Unfortunately, I think, the legislation fails because we, as citizens, have failed. The "support our troops" cheerleading stops, for so many Americans, with a yellow ribbon, a bumper sticker, or some trite homage thanking us for our service or a parade once a year. But the legislation continues to fail. The Courts continue to ignore the Blue Water vets.  Veterans are dying of the very diseases that they contracted from the highly toxic Agent Orange.  Their children have diseases and genetic deformities.  Our Firm has clients affected by this situation, and it is a shame watching these individuals, who gave up so much for so little, being denied a right to a remedy by a country that increasingly fails to look after those that served it. The Attig Law Firm will continue to keep an eye on both pieces of legislation in the House and Senate. The Attig Law Firm represents U.S. Veterans who have been denied disability benefits for injuries that resulted from their military service. The Firm currently represents peace-time and war-time veterans of all branches of the military, at all levels of the claim process (VA Regional Office, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims). Contact the Attig Law Firm if you would like to discuss your claim for disability benefits before the VA. No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the Veteran, some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Veterans.  The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case. Likewise, their may be information that is applicable to your case that is not provided on this Veterans Disability Compensation Blog. It is very important that we note that each and every Veteran's claim is different. Just because we were able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Veteran does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you.   In some cases, we may not be able to secure you any financial compensation due to the facts of your particular case. It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with VA Disability claims and benefits or a Veterans Service Organization to examine your particular case.  If you would like to discuss your VA claim with a lawyer who handles VA Benefits and Disability Appealscontact the Attig Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation with a VA Benefits attorney. The Attig Law Firm, PLLC, represents Veterans in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma (and all around the nation) in their claims for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

One response to “Veterans: Another attempt at Legislation to help Blue Water navy Vets exposed to Agent Orange”

  1. […] these types of veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange, and their classification as a “Blue Water” or “Brown” Water Vet may drastically impact their ability to secure veterans […]

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