‘Blue water’ veterans could benefit from new act

Kimberly Rubio

Assistant editor

Topics discussed Wednesday during a veterans’ town hall meeting included updates to the Department of Veterans Affairs procedure for providing footwear to veteran beneficiaries and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which extends Agent Orange-related disability compensation and VA-paid health care to an estimated 90,000 veterans who weren’t previously eligible.

The meeting took place from 10 a.m. until noon at Middle Rio Grande Workforce Solutions.

The United States military utilized Agent Orange to clear plants and trees in hostile territory during the Vietnam War. Contact with the toxic chemical is believed to have caused cancers – including Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer – and other illness like Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and peripheral neuropathy.

In January, a federal court ruled that the VA cannot deny disability benefits to blue water veterans, a term used to describe veterans who served on open sea ships off the shore of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.


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