On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Washington sided with thousands of Vietnam War veterans who developed health problems linked to exposure to Agent Orange after being stationed offshore. This has the potential to impact all vets who served in Vietnam.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled overwhelmingly for these sailors, finding they are eligible for the same disability benefits as those who put boots on the ground or patrolled Vietnam’s inland rivers.
This decision reversed a previous ruling from 2006 and has a potential impact on over 50,000 veterans across the nation. The majority ruling stated that Congress intended to offer benefits to “blue water” Navy veterans, so called because they were stationed in territorial seas.
Alfred Procopio Jr. brought the appeal forward. He served on the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier and was deployed off the Vietnamese coastline. Procopio had been denied benefits for diabetes and prostate cancer which were both linked to exposure to the agent orange herbicide.
Procopio had been found ineligible in previous claims because he wasn’t stationed on the landmass or waters of Vietnam where the herbicide was sprayed to reduce cover for enemy troops.
The ruling is a crucial decision that may help win benefits to soldiers who served in Vietnam and stationed on Blue Waters. If you believe this could apply to you or someone you know who has a service-related disability, contact us today. Review the list of service-related conditions that have been linked to agent orange exposure.
Navy veterans can suffer from agent orange exposure because the herbicide has been proven in studies to have contaminated water that funneled into the ships’ systems. According to the statute, any “veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served in the Republic of Vietnam” should be entitled to disability benefits.
Additional Service Related Injuries Linked To Agent Orange Exposure
Agent Orange exposure can lead to a variety of different disabilities and illnesses. Review the checklist below to see if you may qualify for agent orange related disability. Each of the conditions contains a link to the VA website that provides further information. If you were stationed around Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 you are entitled to a presumption that these conditions are service related and therefore entitled to VA disability benefits.
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin
A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissue