What Happened? In June, the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act was signed into law, extending the Agent Orange presumption to those who served on ships off of the coast of Vietnam, known as the blue water veterans. The VA has estimated that as many as 556,000 veterans may be affected by this new blue water rule; however, many advocacy groups have argued that fewer than 90,000 are alive today.
In July, Secretary Wilkie announced that per its right in the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, they were going to delay processing all claims from blue water veterans until January 1, 2020. As a result, Military Veterans Advocacy, a veteran advocate organization filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Appeals requesting that the VA be required to rescind the delay and take quicker action on these claims.
Update: What Was Decided
On December 5, 2019, the Federal Court of Appeals issued their decision regarding Secretary Wilkie’s stay. The Court held that the stay was authorized by the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act and will remain in place until January 1, 2020. After January 1, 2020, the stay will expire and no more stays will be permitted. Therefore, beginning January 1, 2020, claims from blue water veterans will be processing.
Organizations like the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) are encouraging veterans to file your claims now to speed up getting your benefits once the stay is lifted. Bosley & Bratch has been helping veterans file their claims since 1995. If you’d like our experienced support please call (727) 274-9223 or chat with us online for a free consultation.