The Department of Veterans Affairs is beginning to review thousands of rejected Vietnam War claims, from veterans who were denied many benefits but may now be entitled to compensation.
Under a new court order, the Department of Veteran Affairs began to review over 60,000 claims for veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange while serving offshore in the Vietnam War. Some of these soldiers served on ships in the open waters of the Vietnam coast, where they were exposed to many chemical herbicides from the ships’ water systems. Many of the herbicides with dioxin, which has been shown to cause Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, respiratory cancers, and many other severe health conditions.
In 2019, Congress passed legislation that entitled these veterans, who are known as “Blue Water” Navy veterans, to government aid. The U.S. The District Court in the Northern District of the state of California made the decision, last November, that the VA must evaluate these once rejected claims.
The department has processed over 45,000 claims, with nearly $900 million in retroactive benefits, since the Blue Water veterans had become eligible for VA benefits in 2019. VA officials are uncertain how many of the past 60,000 claims would be approved in the new review, but they estimate the review will last over the summer.