Showing posts with label Blue Water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blue Water. Show all posts

Friday, August 16, 2019

Seriously bad reporting on this about Blue Water Vietnam veterans

Seriously bad reporting on this about Blue Water Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange

Lawmakers are urging Veterans Affairs officials to move ahead with some elderly “blue water” veterans’ disability benefits claims now instead of waiting until next year, saying in some cases the assistance cannot afford another delay.
Meanwhile, a group of advocates upset over the decision to hold off on paying those claims for another five months has filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding quicker action on the cases.

At issue is a decision earlier this month by VA officials to delay processing of claims from “blue water” Vietnam veterans — former sailors who served in ships off the coast of the country during the war — until January, as outlined under legislation passed by Congress earlier this summer.
read it here
Now you know what is behind all of know more than the reporter did.

Lowcountry widow of Vietnam veteran says benefits needed now
ABC 4 News
by Brodie Hart
August 14th 2019

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Lawmakers are pushing to expedite a new law that extends disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans exposed to the chemical Agent Orange.

"Quite frankly some of our veterans don’t have time to wait they need help today," said Representative Joe Cunningham. Cunningham is on the Veterans Affairs Committee and says he helped push a new bill through Congress in June.

The bill extends disability benefits to veterans known as Blue Water Navy Veterans who served offshore in the Vietnam War, but it doesn't go into effect until January 2019. Those benefits were previously extended to veterans who fought on the ground in Vietnam.
read it here

That was not my typo for a change. Congress approved it but the VA is the one delaying it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Blue Water Veterans Filed Lawsuit Against VA Comp Delay

Lawsuit filed against VA secretary over delaying benefits for Blue Water Navy vets

Published: July 22, 2019
“These veterans are dying at a high rate every single day,” the complaint reads. “[They] deserve the peace of mind and sense of closure that accompanies a granted claim for earned benefits.”
Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie testifies during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 26, 2019. CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES
WASHINGTON — A lawsuit was filed Monday against Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie over his decision to delay claims processing for tens of thousands of “Blue Water” Navy veterans until next year.

Military Veterans Advocacy and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, arguing Wilkie doesn’t have the authority to delay work on the claims until Jan. 1, 2020 — a decision he announced earlier this month.

Blue Water Navy veterans served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships in the territorial seas of Vietnam and fought for years to prove they were exposed to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange. Because of a federal court case and a new law passed by Congress, they became eligible in June for VA disability compensation.

Advocates stressed in their complaint that the veterans can’t afford to wait for benefits. The lawsuits names one veteran, Johnnie Harper of Louisiana, who “is not expected to survive” until 2020.
read it here

Monday, July 1, 2019

90,000 Navy "Blue Water" veterans have the law on their side now

update ‘Blue water’ veterans’ claims delayed until next year

“Time is of the essence in this matter. Blue Water Navy Veterans are dying every day,” John Wells, retired Navy commander and the executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy, wrote in a letter to Wilkie Monday morning. “These veterans have waited long enough.”

President Trump signs Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans bill into law

Connecting Vets
JUNE 26, 2019

President Donald Trump has signed into law the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act," requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide disability benefits to veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam.

The bill is just one more provision in a decades-long fight to guarantee the same benefits to nearly 90,000 Navy veterans who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam that their land and brown-water comrades are entitled to after potentially being exposed to toxic Agent Orange.

Two weeks ago, the Senate passed the bill unanimously and the House passed it unanimously before Memorial Day.

Earlier this month, the final legal battle for Blue Water veterans to qualify for VA disability benefits for exposure to the cancer-causing toxin appeared to be over.
read it here

Friday, June 21, 2019

Veteran behind Blue Water case sees its resolution after 13 years

A bittersweet victory: Veteran behind Blue Water case sees its resolution after 13 years

Published: June 20, 2019
The name “Procopio” now represents a major victory for tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans thanks to the case, Procopio v. Wilkie.

WASHINGTON – Alfred Procopio Jr. said he learned perseverance from his parents, who “never took no for an answer.”

“He was very tenacious,” Procopio said of his father. “He didn’t give up. My mother, she was a fighter, too. I was raised that way — to stand up for what you believe.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signs the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. At right looking on are Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the committee's Ranking Member Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES

It’s that spirit that kept Procopio pursuing his case, through years of rejection, to prove to the federal government that his chronic illnesses were caused by exposure to Agent Orange during his service in the Vietnam War. Procopio, a so-called Blue Water Navy veteran, worked aboard the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that went into the territorial seas off the coast of Vietnam.

Blue Water veterans — who served on open sea ships off the shore of Vietnam but did not step foot on land — have been blocked for decades from the same Department of Veterans Affairs benefits afforded those who served in Vietnam or its inland waterways. The government argued there wasn’t enough evidence that poisonous herbicides contaminated the water used on their ships.

That changed in January, when Procopio won his case.

The Department of Justice decided in May to not challenge the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Blue Water veterans. Congress approved legislation last week clarifying that those veterans are eligible for VA disability benefits. Lawmakers sent the bill to the White House on Tuesday, where it’s awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.

The name “Procopio” now represents a major victory for tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans thanks to the case, Procopio v. Wilkie.

The man himself is happy about the court decision but unsure whether he’ll be around long enough to witness much of its payoff. He was 61 when this process began. Next month, he’ll be 74.

“They appealed it so many times, I thought, ‘How long are they going to deny it? Until we’re all gone?’” Procopio said. “There were a lot of guys who I served with who were older than me, and I know they’re not around.”
read more here

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blue Water Veterans urged to get claims in ASAP

Senate Passes Blue Water Navy Bill, Cementing Victory for Ill Vietnam Veterans
By Patricia Kime
13 Jun 2019
"If they get their claim in, it may be grandfathered," Wells said. "If you were on a ship, especially a carrier that served on the fringe of the territorial sea, it's imperative that they get their claim in now."

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11) steams in the South China Sea on Sept. 13, 1966, with aircraft of Attack Carrier Air Wing 10 (CVW-10) parked on the flight deck. CVW-10 was assigned to the Intrepid for a deployment to Vietnam from April 4 to Nov. 21, 1966. V.O. McColley/Navy

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to extend disability benefits to veterans who served on Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam, signaling the end of a decades-long fight for these former sailors and Marines to receive compensation for diseases presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants used during the Vietnam War.

Following similar approval by the House last month, the Senate vote sends the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The legislation could affect up to 90,000 veterans, although Retired Navy Cmdr. John Wells, an attorney with Military Veterans Advocacy who represented Alfred Procopio Jr., the plaintiff in the case decided in January, said the way the bill is written may limit awards, excluding as many as 55,000 service members, including many assigned to aircraft carriers that operated farther out to sea.
read more here

Thursday, April 18, 2019

#SprayedAndBetrayed Blue Water Veterans still waiting for justtice

Will the benefits for ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans be settled soon?

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
April 17, 2019
“Even though the court has ruled that the VA must provide these benefits, there is no guarantee it will happen,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Congress must create a permanent legislative fix.”
Troops from the First Cavalry Air Mobile Division watch the carrier USS Boxer after arrival at Qui Nhon, Vietnam, on Sept. 12, 1965. (AP file photo)
The fate of disability benefits for “blue water” Vietnam veterans will be among the key topics lawmakers tackle when they return from their district break at the end of the month.

In January, a federal court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs for years has used faulty reasoning to deny disability benefits to veterans who served in ships off the waters of Vietnam. VA officials had argued that extending the benefits to an additional 90,000 veterans would cost as much as $5 billion over 10 years, a figure that advocates have disputed.

This week, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., announced plans to reinforce that ruling and establish a permanent fix for those veterans, who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants has caused a host of rare cancers and respirator illnesses.

Already the chairman and ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee have introduced similar plans, and that House panel is preparing for an expansive hearing on the topic early next month.
read more here

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Will Get Benefits

VA to Drop Fight Against Blue Water Navy Veterans
By Patricia Kime
26 Mar 2019

The Department of Veterans Affairs will not appeal a January court ruling that ordered it to provide health care and disability benefits for 90,000 veterans who served on Navy ships during the Vietnam War, likely paving the way for "Blue Water Navy" sailors and Marines to receive Agent Orange-related compensation and VA-paid health care benefits.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday that he will recommend the Justice Department not fight the decision, handing a victory to ill former service members who fought for years to have their diseases recognized as related to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.

Last year, the House unanimously passed a bill, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, to provide benefits to affected service members. But Wilkie objected, saying the science does not prove that they were exposed to Agent Orange. Veterans and their advocates had argued that the ships' distilling systems used Agent Orange-tainted seawater, exposing sailors on board to concentrated levels of dioxin.

However, the bill failed in the Senate when two Republicans, Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming and Mike Lee of Utah, said they wanted to wait for a vote pending the outcome of a current study on Agent Orange exposure.
Committee chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, also promised a hearing later this year on burn pits and other environmental exposures some troops say left them with lifelong illnesses, including cancers -- some fatal -- and respiratory diseases.
read more here

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blue Water Veterans Closer to Justice

'Blue water' Vietnam veterans may finally be able to seek help with Agent Orange side effects

WCPO 9 News
Craig McKee
February 19, 2019

A Jan. 29 federal appeals court ruling could expand the pool of Vietnam veterans able to claim disability benefits connected to Agent Orange, a chemical weapon known to cause serious health problems in those exposed.

“It’s about time,” veteran John Ranson said Monday.
That category — those exposed — for years did not technically include Navy veterans like him.

Agent Orange was a defoliant herbicide American soldiers deployed to thin out the Vietnamese jungle, depriving guerilla insurgents of both cover and food. When its deadly long-term health impacts became clear, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to provide some financial relief for all those who served.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs repeatedly denied the claims of so-called “Blue Water Veterans,” claiming only soldiers present on the Vietnamese mainland could reasonably claim to have interacted with the substance.

That’s not what Rex Settlemore, who served from 1967 to 1998 and spent two tours in Vietnam, thinks. He watched from the U.S.S. Durham and U.S.S. Richard S. Edwards as airplanes releases chemical weapons overhead, and he remembers how close to the shore both ships sailed.

Agent Orange particles must have made it into the ocean water he and the rest of the crew used, he said, if not the air they breathed. He believes some of the early deaths among his comrades from that time are connected to that exposure.

“Ships who ingested the sea water, even if the sea water was distilled for fresh water on board, would still contain the Agent Orange contaminants,” he said.
read more here

Will the US do the right thing finally after Australia did it for their Vietnam veterans?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Blue Water Veteran Wins in Court

Court decides 'Blue Water' Navy veterans should be eligible for Agent Orange benefit

Stars and Stripes
Nikki Wentling
January 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that Vietnam veterans who served on ships offshore during the war are eligible for benefits to treat illnesses linked to exposure to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange – a decision that has the potential to extend help to thousands of veterans.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled 9-2 in favor of Alfred Procopio, Jr., 73, who served on the USS Intrepid during the Vietnam War. Procopio is one of tens of thousands of “Blue Water” Navy veterans who served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships and were deemed ineligible for the same disability benefits as those veterans who served on the ground and inland waterways.

The decision comes one decade after the Department of Veterans Affairs denied Procopio’s disability claims for diabetes and prostate cancer. The court’s ruling reverses a previous decision from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which upheld the denial because Procopio couldn’t show direct exposure to Agent Orange.

“Mr. Procopio is entitled to a presumption of service connection for his prostate cancer and diabetes mellitus,” the decision issued Tuesday states. “Accordingly, we reverse.”

Judge Kimberly A. Moore, who wrote on behalf of the majority, added: “We find no merit in the government’s arguments to the contrary.”
read more here

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Vietnam Blue Water Veterans Fight for Justice

Target 8: Navy Vietnam veterans in Port Richey fight for benefits taken away
WFLA 8 News
Steve Andrews
March 17, 2017
“These veterans were promised that they would be cared for.” Susie Belanger
PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – More than 231 members of Congress are backing efforts to reinstate benefits that the V.A. stripped from sailors who served in the waters off Vietnam.

With the stroke of a V.A. pen, Agent Orange presumptive disease benefits that Congress and President George W. Bush granted to those veterans vanished.

Susie Belanger, Special Projects Director for the Blue Water Navy Association, isn’t having that.

“Why are you discriminating against this whole class of veterans?” she asks.

From a motor coach in Port Richey, she is working Congress.

Those 231 members of the House of Representatives are now co-sponsoring a bill, HR-299, to restore the benefits.

According to Belanger, Vietnam veterans are running out of time. They’re not in their 20s and 30s anymore. She thinks it’s time America honors its commitment to them.
read more here

Friday, March 4, 2016

Navy Veterans Want Navy to Fight For Them After Agent Orange Struck

Sick Navy vets hunt for decades-old records to prove they should get Agent Orange benefits 
The Virginian-Pilot
By Mike Hixenbaugh
Charles Ornstein
Terry Parris Jr.
1 hr ago

“It's hell,” said Ed Marciniak, of Pensacola, Fla., who served aboard the Norfolk-based USS Jamestown during the war. “The Navy should be going to the VA and telling them, ‘This is how people got aboard the ship, this is where they got off, this is how they operated.’ Instead, they put that burden on old, sick, dying veterans, or worse – their widows.”
During the Vietnam War, hundreds of U.S. Navy ships crossed into Vietnam's rivers or sent crew members ashore, possibly exposing their sailors to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange. But more than 40 years after the war’s end, the U.S. government doesn't have a full accounting of which ships traveled where, adding hurdles and delays for sick Navy veterans seeking compensation.

The Navy could find out where each of its ships operated during the war, but it hasn’t. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs says it won’t either, instead choosing to research ship locations on a case-by-case basis, an extra step that veterans say can add months – even years – to an already cumbersome claims process. Bills that would have forced the Navy to create a comprehensive list have failed in Congress.

Some 2.6 million Vietnam veterans are thought to have been exposed to – and possibly harmed by – Agent Orange, which the U.S. military used to defoliate dense forests, making it easier to spot enemy troops. But vets are only eligible for VA compensation if they went on land – earning a status called “boots on the ground” – or if their ships entered Vietnam’s rivers, however briefly.
read more here

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Vet fighting to for justice

U.S. Navy Vietnam veterans fight for benefits

By Daniel Lippman | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Doug DeWitt served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, but now he feels abandoned by the nation for which he fought.

Forty years after his service, the 67-year-old Anaheim, Calif., resident suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments that he blames on exposure to Agent Orange, the main chemical the United States sprayed during the war. He has tried for years without success to get disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I don't have the strength that I used to have. I can't do the walking I used to because of the pain in my legs," he said. He added that the VA has not been helpful in resolving his claim.

"They won't listen to you. You can talk till you're blue in the face," he said.

DeWitt is one of potentially thousands of so-called "blue water" Navy veterans who have been excluded from easy approval of their Agent Orange-related disability compensation claims by the Veterans Affairs Department. He's in a group of veterans who served on deep-water ships off the coast of Vietnam but didn't touch land or serve on waterways inside the country.

Read more: U.S. Navy Vietnam veterans fight for benefits

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vietnam Vet has benefits restored because reporter cared

A Vietnam Veteran was pushed through cracks with his VA claim. He needed help. A reporter cared enough to tell his story. That reporter was Will Doolittle. Then a worker at the VA read his story and wanted to make sure the VA did the right thing. They did.

"The Post-Star stories, which ran June 5-7, detailed how the Cooleys were running out of money and feared losing their house.

A worker in the VA public affairs office saw the stories online and alerted his supervisors, according to Sue Malley, director of the VA's New York Regional Office."

If the American public knew how many veterans were waiting for their claims to be approved, heard half of their stories, they would be ashamed of what is happening to these men and women. Whenever you hear a horror story coming from a veteran, tell them to take their story to a reporter so they will not only get justice but help other veterans in their situation.

After stories, benefits restored to Vietnam veteran
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011

FORT EDWARD -- Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs have responded to a recent series of stories in The Post-Star about the plight of a Vietnam veteran whose benefit payments were cut off by reviewing the man's case, then restoring his payments at a higher level.

The VA also determined the veteran, Charles Cooley, 67, of Tori Trace, was owed five and a half years' worth of back payments. A check for the back payments was deposited Thursday in the bank account of Cooley and his wife, Dolores, 66.

Their first monthly compensation check for $2,800, which is the 100 percent disability level, was also deposited Thursday in their account.

Until last year, the Cooleys had been receiving monthly compensation checks of about $600, a 40 percent disability level, because Mr. Cooley suffers from diabetes and associated complications, including coronary artery disease.
read more here
After stories, benefits restored to Vietnam veteran

Collecting benefits is a losing battle

Monday, June 6, 2011

Collecting benefits is a losing battle for some veterans

Collecting benefits is a losing battle for some veterans

By Will Doolittle --

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part series on blue water veterans, and part of a larger series on the struggles of veterans to collect benefits from the VA.

FORT EDWARD -- Charles Cooley, Vietnam veteran, shuffled out of his bedroom with an oxygen hose looped around his nose like a bridle and fell into a chair at the dining room table.

"Ungh," he gasped. "I fell out of bed again last night."

"Did you?" said his wife, Dolores. "Jesus Lord."

Day after day, the Cooleys sit around in their doublewide trailer in the Drifting Ridge subdivision, watching TV and listening to the cries of their four cockatiels.

They do not get out much. Charles can’t even sit outside, because the breeze would chill his arms and legs.
Collecting benefits is a losing battle

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blue Water Vietnam Vet cut off after Agent Orange took over

VA ceases benefits for veteran suffering ailments linked to Agent Orange

By Will Doolittle
Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2011

Editor's Note: This is the first of a three-part series on blue water veterans, and part of a larger series on the struggles of veterans to collect benefits from the VA.

The benefit checks from the Department of Veterans Affairs were a lifeline for Charles and Dolores Cooley, as critical to their financial health as the oxygen tube Charles wears is to his physical health.
But that lifeline was severed last year when the VA determined that awarding Cooley benefits for exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War had been an error.

Having their benefits cut off has set the Cooleys down a slope to financial ruin. She is 66; he is 67. They live in a double-wide trailer on a grassy lot in the Drifting Ridge subdivision off Durkeetown Road in Fort Edward.
read more here
VA ceases benefits for veteran suffering

Friday, July 9, 2010

Agent Orange still killing veterans

Shelia over at sent this

Sailors suffer illness, disability as VA denies Agent Orange benefits to an entire class of Vietnam veterans.
By Ken Olsen

Sailors suffer illness, disability as VA denies Agent Orange benefits to an entire class of Vietnam veterans.

Robert Ross heard the low-flying plane heading his direction as he stood on the signal bridge of USS Vega on a late-summer day in 1966. Bathed in Southeast Asian sunshine, he was listening to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons when he looked up just in time to get a face full of spray.

“The officer on deck was panicking,” Ross recalls. “They hollered, ‘Everybody inside! Agent Orange!’ But it was too late.”

Forty-three years later, time is running out for Ross and tens of thousands of other sailors suffering from various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and heart conditions caused by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. For nearly a decade, VA, acting on a Bush administration directive and a punitive court decision, has severed their benefits or denied their claims. Under these new VA rules, so-called “Blue Water” and “Blue Sky” veterans are deemed not to have suffered any ill effects from the millions of gallons of toxic defoliant spread across the jungles during the war, regardless of any contact they may have had with it. The government’s rationale: they did not set foot on land or couldn’t meet VA’s stringent requirements for proof that they were exposed.
read more here
Blue Water Battle

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Help Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association

Many Americans do not realize that not all veterans of the Vietnam War receive benefits related to dioxins and other toxins to which they (the veterans) were exposed from roughly 1963 to 1975. These service personnel served aboard ships along the coast of Vietnam. These veterans were exposed to toxins and dioxins when they drank contaminated water that was aboard ship. They also showered in that water, ate food prepared in it and breathed air from the ventilation system that spewed toxic air. These are the same contaminates for which the armed forces who served on land are being compensated.

I am proud to report that Congressman, Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is moving ahead with promises he has made on behalf of veterans of the Vietnam War. Representative Filner's bill, HR-2254, has an overwhelming support of 256 fellow Representatives, and he is working on issues regarding the funding of this legislation. It deals with military victims of Agent Orange poisoning.

Congressman Filner has stepped up to the plate boldly on this issue, an action that many members of this 111th Congress have not yet done. His recent release of a Video to Veterans at shows him as a staunch proponent for all veteran issues, and he spent some time detailing the problems that HR-2254 is going to solve as well as his approach to how he plans to get this bill through the House. Like everything else these days, his biggest hurdle is financial. But Congressman Filner indicates he will work through those funding issues in order to get this legislation passed.

As Executive Director of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, I stand and salute him for his past valiant efforts to pass this legislation and have great faith that he will come through for us in the end.

John Paul Rossie, Executive Director
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
PO Box 1035
Littleton, CO 80160-1035

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Veterans for Common Sense Power House for sake of all veterans

While there is an ever growing list of groups working for veterans, there is one that stands out above the rest. Veterans for Common Sense, under the leadership of champion advocate Paul Sullivan, has been behind most of the changes in how we treat our veterans. Admittedly, I am in awe of Paul's work as well as his humbleness.

The truth is we need Veterans for Common Sense because what politicians manage to do well is say one thing but do another. They are the watchers of what is done and when words do not translate into action, they let us know about it. These are just a few of the recent reports VCS has released.

VCS in the News

Speaking at the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (CIAV) conference in Washington, DC, VCS revealed how recent VA audits of eight Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) offices found an overall error rate of 28 percent among selected claims. Our presentation was covered by Kelly Kennedy at Army Times.

Also last week, VCS was featured on National Public Radio (NPR) discussing problems veterans face dealing with VBA. VCS highlighted VBA's frustrating and burdensome 23-page claim form with NPR reporter John McChesney.

In a piece of good news,VCS plans to closely monitor VBA's plans to build a new system to handle the expected hundreds of thousands of new disability claims filed by Vietnam War veterans who remain ill due to Agent Orange poisoning.
In another piece of good news, VBA plans to overhaul how VBA employees are judged for their work - the infamous and misleading work credit system
. We'll be watching this development, too.

Unfortunately, in a piece of bad news, VCS remains outraged that VBA still fights against our Vietnam War veterans seeking healthcare and benefits due to Agent Orange exposure while aboard Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam. Please read this shocking and shameful Congressional testimony by VBA's Tom Pamperin before the Senate today. Pamperin told Senators that "VA does not support" S 1939.

This means President Barack Obama and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki oppose reasonable Agent Orange benefits for blue water Vietnam War veterans. VCS asks you to contact your Representative and Senator as well as VA and voice your support for all of our Vietnam War veterans.

So how about it folks? Ready to get to work and make the call for Vietnam Veterans?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Old Soldiers Still Fighting for Veteran's Disability

Old Soldiers Still Fighting for Veteran's Disability
March 26, 2010. By Gordon Gibb

Albany, NY: While the US Department of Veterans Affairs is adding new diseases and conditions to the list of those which quality for compensation, securing veterans' disability benefits can be painfully slow—and for some, impossible.

On Monday the Albany-based Times-Union revealed the maddening situation of those who came into contact with Agent Orange while serving during the Vietnam War.

Agent Orange is a toxic herbicide used by the US military to defoliate the dense forest and allow US soldiers to better see the enemy. It was later found that military personnel who ingested dioxins and the various toxic chemicals associated with the herbicide have become susceptible to illness. The VA long ago ruled that military personnel who served on Vietnamese soil and became ill from the aftereffects of Agent Orange should be compensated.

However, those who did not actually serve on Vietnamese soil—including those who served in the air or on the sea—are ineligible for compensation unless they can prove their illness is directly service-oriented. That, it turns out, is not easy. Even when doctors verify the connection, benefits can be painfully slow in coming.

The Times-Union told the story of Robert Hug, who served in the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea aboard the USS Hancock from 1967 to 1970. Hug, a non-smoker, eventually developed cancer of the larynx and required surgery. Doctors blamed his illness on Agent Orange. However the VA denied his claims for cancer-related benefits four times in nine years before finally allowing him benefits last fall.
read more here
Old Soldiers Still Fighting for Veterans Disability

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last hope for blue water Vietnam vets

Last hope for blue water vets

Veterans Corner

Bobbye C. Jerone — Veterans Corner

Like the Cavalry in an old western movie, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner [D-CA] has ridden to the rescue of the ‘Blue Water Navy’ Veterans. These are Veterans who have been excluded from receiving any disability compensation due to exposure to Agent Orange and the other toxic chemicals sprayed in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Rep. Filner has introduced a new law [H.R. 2254] which, if passed, will restore equity to all Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange.

Before 2002, it didn’t matter where a person served in the Vietnam War. If a person became disabled due to the exposure to the terrible poisons in the air and waterways, VA would pay disability compensation. In February 2002, Congress decided to ‘save our taxpayers money’ and ordered VA to implement a ‘foot on the ground’ policy. After this policy revision, only service members who actually set foot on the ground in Vietnam could get paid for the terrible medical conditions from Agent Orange and the other herbicides that were routinely sprayed. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and the China Sea were exempt from payment even though they were contaminated by these toxins just like their brothers in arms who served on the ground, in Vietnam itself.
read more here