Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Va offering wider eligibility for Agent Orange Benefits

Blue Water Navy Veterans and anyone who served on US Navy ships after they were contaminated in and off Vietnam may become eligible for Agent Orange benefits due to a recent change made by the VA.

A report made by Dr. Jeanne Stellman of Columbia University, to the Institute of Medicine, Committee on Agent Orange and Vietnam Veterans regarding the post-Vietnam War use and maintenance of C-123 Provider Aircraft that were used on the spray missions over South Vietnam indicates that the C-123 airframes remained contaminated after the USAF stripped the planes to bare metal.

According to Dr. Stellman's report, the Air Force stripped the airframes down to bare metal and and thoroughly cleaned the planes in an effort to de-toxify the aircraft from residual herbicides from spray, blow-back, spills, and so on.  What Stellman found on examining these planes was there were still traces of dioxin on the aircraft.  Dr. Stellman also testified that one molecule was sufficient to contaminate a person and result in any one or more of the Agent Orange related diseases.

You can download the study in .pdf format for free from the Institute of Medicine's website at:

http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2015/Post-Vietnam-Dioxin-Exposure-in-Agent-Orange-Contaminated-C-123-Aircraft.aspx 

Using that testimony one can reasonably conclude that the same results can be found in the water purification systems on US Navy ships that are on the VA's exposed ships list [see the list click here] for subsequent service on those ships at any time.  The US Navy never went to the lengths to decontaminate their water evaporation system that the USAF did to decontaminate their C-123 aircraft.

What this does not do:

This does NOT provide a path to eligibility for Blue Water Navy Veterans who served off the coast of South Vietnam and who's ships have NOT been determined to have entered Brown Water, ports, rivers, etc. -- in other words, are NOT on the Blue Water Navy ship list linked above.

But, we still have another year for the current Blue Water Navy bills currently in Congress, S.681 [34 cosponsors], and H.R. 969 [291 cosponsors].  Get busy with your two Senators and your Representative to get these bills moving and passed.

What this does:

Any Veteran who served on a ship AFTER it had been exposed according to the VA's ship list, and who has an AO-related disease COULD find a path to a successful claim.  [Our best estimate is that it would require at least one claim going through the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims before the VA would be forced to grant exposure under those conditions.]

Additionally, the VA says:

Eligibility - Service Outside of Vietnam or Korea

Even if you did not serve in Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone during the specified time periods, you can still apply for disability compensation if you were exposed to an herbicide while in the military and believe it led to the onset of a disease. This includes:
This would include those who handled the herbicides on Guam, Okinawa, Johnston Island, and other locations.

Go for it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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