NATIONAL MOAA WORKING IN WASHINGTON
BLUE WATER NAVY
January 30, 2019
AUSN wanted you to be the first to know that in a major victory for "Blue Water" Navy Vietnam veterans, a federal court has ruled overwhelmingly that sailors are eligible for the same disability benefits as those who had boots on the ground or patrolled the inland rivers of Vietnam and were exposed to the deadly herbicide Agent Orange. Thanks to the support and efforts of our members, AUSN has been working vigilantly over the past few years to bring our "Blue Water" shipmates much needed and deserved relief from Agent Orange toxicity exposure.
AUSN was amongst the very first to come out in support for the appeal brought by Alfred Procopio Jr., who served on the USS Intrepid and was denied benefits for claims related to diabetes and prostate cancer -- diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.
Despite the fact that the science on this issue was settled long ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs has continued to drag their heels on the issue, saying -- incorrectly -- there is not enough data to support the claim that as many as 90,000 Navy veterans serving offshore were exposed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit clearly didn't agree, siding with the sailors in a 9-2 decision that would apply to 52,000 veterans, according to the Washington Post.
We expect that the VA will appeal, but this is a major positive step in ensuring our veterans get the care they deserve for fighting for their country. We owe our veterans a tremendous debt, and it's time to pay this debt -- not abandon them in their time of need.
In the meantime, AUSN will continue to push for the passage of Blue Water Navy legislation that stalled in the Senate last year and has been reintroduced in the House. We are confident it will be swiftly passed by the House, and the Senate overwhelmingly supports this legislation, but two senators -- Sen. Lee (Utah) and Sen. Enzi (Wyoming) -- blocked the legislation from leaving committee during the last Congress and continue to be obstacles to its passage.
The mission of the Emerald Empire Chapter of MOAA is to advocate for our military community and connect it to the nation we serve.
Emerald Empire Chapter
Military Officers Association of America
©COPYRIGHT MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA - EMERALD EMPIRE CHAPTER
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Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017
The Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 became law on August 23, 2017 (Pub L. 115-55). It is also known as the Appeals Modernization Act. You can read the law in full on Congress.gov.
The new law will:
Modernize the current claims and appeals process
Include three review options for disagreements with decisions
Require improved notification of VA decisions
Provide earlier claim resolution
Ensure you receive the earliest effective date possible
Click here to read more