Blue Water Ruling 

Writ­ten by J. Slider, VAntage Point Blog
This week the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs offi­cial blog, VAn­tage Point, addressed the find­ings of the recent rul­ing on the affects of Agent Orange on Blue Water Sailors —those who served on deep water Navy or Coast Guard ves­sels. In sum­mary, the report stated that the expo­sure of Viet Nam era Blue Water Navy Vet­er­ans to Agent Orange can­not rea­son­ably be deter­mined due to a lack of data on envi­ron­men­tal con­cen­tra­tions of Agent Orange con­t­a­m­i­nants.                       
Although this means that this group of vet­er­ans do not have a pre­sump­tive con­nec­tion to AO, it does not mean that Blue Water Navy Vet­er­ans can’t sub­mit claims and apply for ben­e­fits if they feel they were exposed to AO. In fact, as the VA blog points out, the VA has rec­og­nized claims from Viet­nam Vet­er­ans whose ships entered inland water­ways, and/or docked at spe­cific times and loca­tions, if they claim that they went ashore. So far, this applies to 140 ships and 51 classes of ves­sels. Vet­er­ans who were aboard these ships are eli­gi­ble for ben­e­fits based on the pre­sump­tion that their dis­eases are asso­ci­ated with their ser­vice in Viet­nam. You can find the list of ships and ves­sels linked on the Blue Water Navy Vet­er­ans web­site.

The VAn­tage Point blog also points out that non-Hodgkins lym­phoma is an excep­tion to the IOM “Blue Water” find­ings. Blue Water Vet­er­ans claim­ing non-Hodgkin’s lym­phoma as a dis­abil­ity may be granted service-connection with­out show­ing inland water­way ser­vice or that they set foot in Viet­nam. This is because VA also rec­og­nizes non-Hodgkin’s lym­phoma as asso­ci­ated with ser­vice in Viet­nam or the waters off­shore of Viet­nam dur­ing the Viet­nam Era.

Sign-Up for our FREE Veteran Newsletters and FREE Veteran Alerts.

Full name:
 * required
Email address:
 * required

I agree to receive FREE veteran newsletters and alerts.