VA to Review Blue Water Navy Claims for Vietnam Veterans Following Push from Tester
Chairman: “This review provides an entire generation of veterans with another shot at getting the health care and benefits they’ve earned”
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will begin immediately readjudicating Blue Water Navy claims for veterans who served in the offshore waters of Vietnam following a push from Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester.
This review is part of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s implementation of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California order to readjudicate previously denied claims, per the Nehmer vs. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs consent decree.
“It’s great news that VA answered my call to review previously rejected claims of Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans, who for years have been denied justice for their exposure to Agent Orange,” said Tester. “This review provides an entire generation of veterans with another shot at getting the health care and benefits they’ve earned. And it sends a clear message that VA is working to right a wrong perpetrated by a government that ignored their service and sacrifice for far too long.”
As of April 30, VA processed more than 45,000 Blue Water Navy claims and paid nearly $900 million in retroactive benefit payments to disabled Blue Water Navy veterans.
In March, Tester sent a bipartisan letter calling on VA Secretary Denis McDonough to provide the Department’s estimated timeline for completing initial processing of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act claims and the Department’s plan to adhere to the Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs consent decree.
Tester’s Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act guaranteed that veterans who served off the shores of Vietnam could access VA health care and benefits related to their exposure from Agent Orange. President Donald Trump signed this legislation into law on June 25, 2019.