Saturday, April 02, 2011

Misinformation Alert

An article in a state level Veterans Magazine was brought to our attention yesterday. While the information in the article is accurate, it is outdated by almost 5 years and therefore woefully incomplete.

The article touts the Haas case decision in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, in August 2006, and states that the decision in that case is now the law, so get your claims in fast if you were Blue Water Navy.

As we found out subsequent to the USCAVC decision, it did not stand very long. The Department of Veterans Affairs [DVA] filed an appeal immediately, and the case moved on to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [USCAFC]. We attended the oral arguments in the case at the US Court House in Washington, DC in November, 2007. The Court issued its decision to reverse the USCAVC officially in October of 2008. Commander Haas, and his legal team, headed up by the National Veterans Legal Services Program, appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States [SCOTUS]. SCOTUS did not select the case for review, thereby letting the USCAFC decision stand.

Subsequently the case was remanded back to the Regional Office via the USCAVC, and the Board of Veterans Appeals [BVA]. The case was dead.

In separate DVA claim action, Commander Haas did eventually get his claim for direct exposure approved, but it had nothing to do with the legal case as described above.

It is an unfortunate accident when the alert that flashed around the Internet in August and September of 2006 gets republished as if it is current news. In fact, the current policy of the DVA is that Blue Water Navy Veterans must prove boots on the ground, or service in Brown Water to have their presumptive Exposure to Herbicides approved for benefits and medical coverage.

Though the correct bill has not been introduced in Congress quite yet, we are hopeful it will be in the coming days. We do not support  HR 812 which is Bob Filner's reissued HR 2254 from the last session. Mr. Filner let HR 2254 die in committee despite having over 260 cosponsors. It died because it was written to cover almost anyone anywhere who had ever been exposed to herbicides during the Vietnam Era. Because it went so far beyond the scope of restoring benefits to Veterans who were to be included in the original Agent Orange Act of 1991, the cost became prohibitive at $27 billion.

We ask all of our readers to contact their Veterans Service Organizations [American Legion, VVA, VFW, DAV, FRA, etc.] and ask them to NOT support HR 812. It will not cover all the Veterans who should be covered. Ask them to support introduction of the Agent Orange Restoration Act and the Agent Orange Supplemental Act immediately! When they are introduced, contact your elected Congressional Representatives and Senators, and ask them to cosponsor and fully fund the bills. [See top right of this page for links to the proposed legislation].


”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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