Blue Water Navy Veterans received $140M in retroactive benefits in January, February


shadow

Blue Water Navy Veterans and survivors who filed compensation claims in January and February 2020 have so far received over $140 million in retroactive benefits. This information can be found in a new monthly report published on the 10th business day of each month to inform Veterans and other stakeholders about BWN claims decisions.

These figures show the latest results from VA directly acting upon the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran Act of 2019 that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The BWN Act extends the presumption of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, as well as Veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between Sept. 1, 1967, and Aug. 31, 1971. Prior to this law, only Veterans who served on the ground in Vietnam or within Vietnam’s inland waterways were eligible to receive disability compensation based on a presumption of herbicide exposure.

How to file

Filing a claim for BWN benefits is a straightforward process. Veterans who wish to file an initial claim for an herbicide-related disability that have not been previously decided by VA can use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, online at https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim.

However, BWN Veterans who were previously denied will be able to reapply using VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim. As of Jan. 1, VA began processing BWN claims that were stayed in the VA review process or under appeal.

Survivors and dependents who have never filed a claim but want to file a claim now can use VA Form 21P-534EZ. Survivors and dependents who have been previously denied a Dependency and Indemnity claim and want to file another claim now can use VA Form 20-0995. For additional Dependency and Indemnity claims information, visit https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation.

Additional assistance

If Veterans or survivors need help determining the location of the vessel a Veteran traveled on, VA has collaborated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to digitize the deck logs of more than 1,800 Navy and Coast Guard vessels.

VA also developed an internal claims-related technical processing system which incorporates data from the digital deck logs and identifies vessels that may have traveled within the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam. While there are others claiming to be able to help BWN Veterans locate their ship positions, VA strongly discourages Veterans from relying on any unauthorized service or tool as VA cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information. VA was also not involved in developing any publicly available online tools currently being advertised.

VA encourages any Veteran who thinks that they may be eligible for Blue Water Navy benefits to contact an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to assist with the application process. Veterans can also contact their state Veterans Affairs Office.

Additional information and resources about the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, eligibility requirements and how to file an initial or supplemental claim can be found online at https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/blue-water-navy.asp.


Renee Johnson is an executive assistant in VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Linda Fleeger    

    And just how long does it take when the VA is sent a fully developed claim that has such a comprehensive DBQ from a specialist that it doesn’t even need a C&P. Only needs to open it, spend couple hours reading and send it for decision.
    Claim was filed and in their hands way before 1/1/2020.
    They need to get off their collective behinds

    [Editor: VBA publishes data every Monday on the MMWR: https://benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/detailed_claims_data.asp. According to the data, FDC are averaging 94 days right now, but many factors affect that, such as how many medical conditions you’ve claimed (eight is considered “complex” and will take more time), what kind and how much evidence you’ve submitted, which RO is working it, what its caseload looks like, whether you used a VSO, what the VSO’s caseload looks like, etc. While a DBQ helps, it alone does not mean the rater won’t order a C&P exam.]

  2. Larry J Sledge    

    I am looking for people that were on the Corral Sea in 1968 thru 69 when the ship anchored in Da Nang Harbor, to pick up derelict helicopters a day after they sprayed the area with 3000 gallons of agent orange and have problems with sickness due to Agent Orange exposure. Larry Sledge AE2

  3. Shirl Mac    

    ASHAME!!!! Our husbands, fathers, uncles etc. give up so much of their time away from home and their families to go put their lives on the line and are treated so unfair and have to fight for the illnesses/contamination they were exposed too. My husband who passed in 2016, a retired 20 year Navy Veteran, who fought so hard to get what he deserved from suffering with lung cancer. I am his widow/surviving spouse, now still fighting for claims that are still in appeal process after 4 yrs. now. Come on VA, get on the ball and take care of your Veterans as you promised!! So sad to see our dedicated Veterans being treated the way they are being treated, LIKE DIRT, VA don’t care about them after they have served their country!!!!!!! HELP THEM, DO NOT IGNORE THEM!

  4. Richard Perbix    

    I served aboard the USS Ticonderoga during the Vietnam war in 1969 & 1970. During that time, our ship was sent to Korea (69) and that’s on my DD214. My job on the flight deck was in the back of the flight deck (fly 3). The Tico was not a nuclear carrier, which means when there was a aircraft recovery or launch, we headed into the wind, and the smoke from the “exhaust” drifted right on the aft of the flight deck where all of us were inhaling the smoke, which was NOT good.

    When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the VA suggested I submit a claim, this was in the Fall of 2004, and my claim was in 2006. In 2010 when I was at the VA clinic, I was told to submit another claim, which I did. Bottom line, I have submitted 3 claims all suggested by the VA, and so far, nothing. One thing, the surgery I went through which was really bad, I’m still alive, but the entire surgery was BAD. I was told that the Blue Water Veterans act was approved, and starting Jan1, 2020, sailors would be contacted, and neither me or other Veterans whom I worked with on the flight deck have been contacted. I guess with all that is going on with this virus right now, could have something to do with the delay. All I want is to be contacted by the VA saying, yes your claim has been approved, or denied,

  5. Terry Northrup    

    I served with the 101st Airborne. We watched planes dump the defoliant. An hour later we were walking through it. Soon our fatigues would be covered with it. Problem was, it could be a week before we could shower or discard our contaminated clothing. Don’t worry though, it as safe as talcum powder we were told. I wonder if any of those making this claim would have proved it by douseing their kids with it? It was a disgrace then and still a disgrace today.

    1. Jason Tomason    

      Terry,
      Thank you for your testimony of what you and many others have experienced when in the service of our nation. We (citizens of this great nation) owe you, my father, grandfathers, my brother and other veterans whom have laid their lives on the line in defense of our country’s way of life a debt of gratitude and respect we could never fathom to comprehend let a alone begin to pay back. From the bottom of my heart please accept my deepest gratitude and thanks for all you have done sir. So that my children and I might be able to sleep at night. Thank you.

  6. Valerie Pelton    

    My father was a blue water Navy veteran. He had one of the Agent Orange related/presumptive cancers while on active duty. He died of Agent Orange-related cancers. The JAX VA refused to accept my father’s Agent Orange claim because he died in hospice while I was in their waiting room trying to get it filed in August 2013 the day before deadline. When my father died, my mother was alive, legally blind and his surviving spouse. As the JAX VA refused to accept the timely claim Agent Orange form because my father died in hospice while I was in the waiting room trying to be seen, I filed the claim by mail after the funeral with the St. Petersburg VA. The DAV in Washington, DC it was never processed by that office, so I filed another Agent Orange claim for survivor benefits for my mother through the DAV in DC. The VA denied the claim as “untimely”. I appealed the denial twice. It was rejected both times as “untimely”. I believe the JAX VA should have accepted the claim forms on the day I hand delivered them to the office. Had it done so, it would have made a difference to my mother’s care and honored my father’s service. My mother died 18 months after my father. Both my father & my mother are dead and were denied Agent Orange benefits to which they were entitled.

  7. jeffrey a tamblyn    

    anyone else suspect airgun type shots during boot camp? I remember a long line of bleeding arms ahead of me. When hep C test was invented I was positive. cure was absolutely hell and didn’t work. {boot camp ’67 cure 2000 something] best wishes,Tam

  8. christina thundathil    

    What the hell ever….

    More waiting…. till more veterans die….

  9. Carole Brickey    

    Hi, my husband was on the USS Hornet CVS 12 as well, 1966-1968. My husband was machinist mate / fireman, engine room number one. He passed away February 2018 of multi myeloma. He fought it for 7 and 1/2 years, filed in 2012 and denied and denied and denied. Until he passed away. I have done extensive study of Vietnam and of the ship USS Hornet, not much is said about the planes carrying agent Orange. But I do know that the coordinances of the ship while my husband was on it, shows the ship numerous times within the 12 miles from the shoreline of Vietnam. The deck logs state on many occasions that they were in the official Waters of the republic of Vietnam. Check the national archives for the deck logs of when your husband was on that ship. And any other ship you husband would have been on. Check a web site HiIl and Ponton, they have a list of ships that were in the official Waters of Vietnam and eligible for benefits the site can give you the datesas well. I have all the deck logs for all the months that my husband was on that ship. The deck logs are important to have. You can go to any veteran service organization and they can help you file a claim. Blessings to you, I hope this helps.

  10. R Barbara Beck Bradley    

    My husband died in 2012. I have been waiting 8 years for results. My case is in Appeal so anything you can do to expiate this claim will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.
    R. Barbara Beck Bradley

    [Editor: NEVER publish sensitive information on the internet. This is NOT a secure website. If you would like to expedite your husband’s pending appeal, you should transfer it into the three Appeals Modernization lanes when given the chance.]

  11. Jeanette Cruz-Poulsen    

    My husband has bladder cancer from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. Because the tumor was removed, the VA claims he has no cancer so denies any claims. We were told to reapply for compensation once the cancer returns! Unbelievable!

  12. Debby Miller    

    My brother who just passed away on 2/29 from prostate cancer met the VA goal of delay until they die. He had been fighting with the VA for the last 5 years and still couldn’t get them to acknowledge his illness. I wish the best of luck to all those fighting for the benefits you absolutely deserve.

  13. Janice S Atwell widow of Thomas Jerald Atwell    

    My husband died in 2017 with systemic heart disease and was denied compensation in August of 2015. We recd a letter this year telling us that his disease is now recognized, and I have completed all required documentation but I have heard nothing further, I have no idea where to turn for answers

    1. Jay    

      Call 1-800-827-1000 to check on the status of the claim if you submitted the claim or if you have questions on how to submit. This number is to the VA compensation National Call Center. They are open 8am to 9pm eastern time. The VA should have sent you a letter acknowledging they received your claim and have started processing it.

      [Editor: 800-827-1000 is VA’s national call center for everything. If you want to check the status of a claim, log into your account at VA.gov or on eBenefits.]

  14. Dan Dolaptchieff    

    I was on Midway Islands 1973-74 and Nafac centerville beach ca 74-76

    We breathed burnt carbon smoke every watch 8 hours. Looking for anyone on Midway at that time. Have COPD for lungs , PTSD from a knife attack in the barracks, and a fused L 4 -5 due to being forced to lift a heavy acctuator.

    The va lost my records in 1980. After fighting since 2014 i now have 30% servie related disability,
    But would have at least 90% if i could prove with records that have been missing since 1980.

    In Hawaii with VA that dont cre here. But the medical side is good
    Aloha

  15. Louis Lucas    

    I was on the uss ogden 5 1974 to 1976

  16. Lynne vesey    

    Father served Navy from end of Korea, entire Vietnam war and exited 1974.
    He was on a small ship called a Green Ship/boat.
    I believe he was up and down the MD in Vietnam.
    Yes they were sprayed
    Has anyone heard of a green ship and what was.it mission

  17. Vicki j miller    

    My father was used as a mouse for testing the a bomb on bikini atoll in the Hawaiian islands in the 1940s. He died from radiation exposure and left behind a wife and 3 children at the age of 42. He died from lung cancer. His lungs were eaten from the outside in, as in radiation poisoning. Lung cancer eats from inside out. He died in 1970. We found out years later vets were being compisated for their exposure but we never knew what to do to file a claim. We never got to know my dad. He was taken from us so very young. Can anyone tell me how to file a claim, where do we begin. Is it too late? Thank you for any help.

    1. Etheridge James    

      I pray your local VA center is as robust as here in San Diego County. I was asked, recently by a Deaf gentleman who’s Marine veteran son took his own life, how to contact the VA with ideas to prevent other veterans meeting the same demise. I learned, from my VA counselor, that family members can get service, and benefits from the VA. Contact the VA, by phone or online. I don’t know all of the services available, but according to my counselors, I’ve had group, individual, and couples, and they all say this service is available to children of, parents of, or even siblings of veterans even if the veteran is deceased. I hope this helps.

  18. Faye T.    

    Greetings,
    My Navy Father deployed to Vietnam between 1963 to 1965.He passed away in 1992 of lung cancer. Can my Mom apply for benefits for her?

    God bless you all… thank you for your reply.

  19. Michael Freeman    

    I was in Vietnam and is a blue water Vet. I was just granted disability for my prostate. So Sailors please look up your ship so you can get paid. They backed paid from 2015 to 2019. Fifty years I’ve been out of the navy, but I knew that my ship was in the water ways. 21 combat missions.

    1. Bob Berlet    

      Very good to hear your claim was processed so fast. I have a similar claim & completed C&P exam 1//15/20; have heard nothing to date. Would you be willing to share this time line?
      Thanks,
      Bob Berlet

  20. NDoebler    

    I made 5 tours, We had Hands On on the Flight Deck,
    Our food was prepared with the water, clothes washed, no protection ..I have 8 issue on the list…been on the a
    Agent Orange Registery for 20 years, still trying to resolve.. b
    Best of Luck to all my Brothers

  21. Sarah Lee    

    I’m glad for the folks who were compensated. My husband served on the USS HORNET and the USS ENTERPRISE. He worked catapults and arresting gear, which means he was under the planes spraying agent orange. He now has diabetes with all the complications and was NOT COMPENSATED because the ships he was on were “outside the limits”. I can’t fathom this. Thanks for letting me vent, Hubby has lost an eye due to diabetes and and it’s hard for him to do tasks like this.

  22. Eulalio Maysonet    

    They waited until everyone was over the age of 70, FYI they deny all herbicide claims. After Vietnam war because it magically disappeared and was never seen again. My buddies and I dealt with chemical weapons that leaked but they will wait till we’re dead or in our 70s

  23. Penny Johnson    

    How does it work if you are a disabled dependent and father is deceased. We all were exposed to agent orange and purple plus radiation while we were stationed over seas in 1961-1968? I should be able to claim, I have chloracne, scars all over my body, major scar tissue, perotid tumers, als, spinal fluid leaking, neuropathy, etc. I have a whole list from my doctor.

  24. ROBERT FREAR    

    Why isn’t the Tonkin Gulf considered blue water?

    1. JL Bankston    

      Tonkin Gulf was prior to the use of Agent Orange.

  25. Gerri Welch    

    Like to know more . my late husband had agent Orange . I receive his befits for a while so I need more information about this

  26. Richard Doyle Thurman    

    aboard USS Jenkins DD-447 Viet Nam 1968 1969. VA can not find deck logs to prove ship was there or that I was aboard.. So I guess I am SOL

    1. Adviser    

      You say the V. A. can’t find the information, but the Navy should be able to find the Active duty information and send it to you.
      Try contacting the HeadQuarters of:
      The
      United States
      Navy

      The Pentagon Arlington,Virginia
      Have you searched the internet?
      The internet has information pertaining to the Navy during the war at Vietnam.
      And if you tell them the name and the Social Security Number of the one who suffered from active duty service then the Navy should tell you everything about him or her, that is when they were in listed and the occupation or work they were assigned to do.

      The Navy and the Veterans Administration are not the same.
      The Navy should tell you about the Active duty time with the military, and the Veterans Administration should compensate a Veteran with health assistance and a paid compensation for any medical suffering while on active duty with the military.
      And if you present the Veterans Administration with all the proof and information thats required and the Veterans Administration still denies to award you what you are intitled to by federal law, then there’s another option, and that other option is to bring your case to, The Federal Court.
      And with the correct information and the proof that your claim is true, then you might with out a doubt go about the correct procedures and SUE the Navy for what you are truly intitled too.

  27. Carolyn Wilmington    

    When will the Marines at El Toro get their day in court? Our base is covered under a Superfund

  28. Doreen Ventus3    

    I am so glad this was resolved. My husband died in 2018 and I am still waiting for his burial money.

Comments are closed.