NVLSP Blue Water Vietnam Veteran Intake Form
On January 29, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued the groundbreaking decision Procopio v. Wilkie, No. 2017-1821 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 29, 2019). The Court held that veterans who served in the 12 nautical mile territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era are entitled to the presumption that they were exposed to Agent Orange. This decision overruled the Court’s previous decision in Haas v. Peake, 525 F.3d 1168 (Fed. Cir. 2008), which held that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) could exclude veterans from the presumption of Agent Orange exposure if they did not set foot on land or serve on the inland waterways of Vietnam.
If the Federal Circuit’s decision in Procopio becomes final, it would open the door for tens of thousands of Blue Water Vietnam Veterans or their survivors to obtain service-connected VA disability or death benefits for diseases caused by Agent Orange exposure. Right now, the Procopio decision is not final because the VA has 90 days (until April 29, 2019) to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the VA does not petition the Supreme Court within the 90-day timeframe, the decision will then become final.
If the decision becomes final, veterans who served within the 12 nautical miles of Vietnam during the Vietnam era would be entitled to service connected disability benefits for diseases the VA presumes are associated with Agent Orange exposure. Those diseases include ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and numerous cancers. A full list of the diseases that the VA presumes are associated with exposure to Agent Orange are listed below and can also be found at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/. Survivors of Blue Water Vietnam veterans who died from one of these diseases would also become entitled to service connected death benefits (known as DIC).
Because the law surrounding who was exposed to Agent Orange is currently in a state of flux, NVLSP would like to obtain some basic information about the disability and death benefits claims previously filed by some veterans or survivors. We want information from only those veterans or survivors who previously filed a claim based on one or more of the Agent Orange diseases recognized by the VA (which are listed below). This basic information will allow NVLSP to send you advice once the Procopio decision becomes final. Giving us this information does not mean that NVLSP represents you on any of your claims. We are only collecting this information for the purpose of giving you advice in the future.
To give us this basic information, please complete the form below. If you are unable to complete the form, you can send your information to the National Veterans Legal Services Program by email: bluewater2019@nvlsp.org. If you cannot email us the form, you can give us this information through our toll-free hotline: 855-333-0677.
According to the VA, if you have an illness you think is caused by contact with Agent Orange—and you don’t see it listed here—you can still file a claim for disability compensation. You’ll ultimately need to provide the VA with evidence from a medical professional indicating that it is at least as likely as not the disease resulted from Agent Orange exposure.
As of now, here’s the list of diseases that the VA has officially recognized as linked to Agent Orange:
Prostate Cancer
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Soft Tissue Sarcomas
Lung Cancer
Trachea Cancer
Larynx Cancer
Multiple Myeloma
Hodgkin's Disease
Type 2 Diabetes
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
AL Amyloidosis
Ischemic Heart Disease
Parkinson's Disease
Chronic B-Cell Leukemia
Early-onset Peripheral Neuropathy
Chloracne
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
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