Lawmakers pass ‘Blue Water’ Navy benefits bill once again

Recently lawmakers unanimously approved a bill that would extend benefits to Vietnam War sailors who have fought for years to prove they were exposed to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange. The House voted 410-0 to advance the bill to the Senate, following a vote last year of 382-0.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 aims to grant benefits to “Blue Water” Navy veterans who served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships but had been deemed ineligible for the same disability benefits as others who served on the ground and inland waterways. Agent Orange, a dioxin-laden herbicide, has been found to cause respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease, as well as other conditions. The House approved a similar bill last June in the previous congressional session, but the effort stalled and ultimately failed in the Senate.”

Similar to last year, this new bill would increase fees for nondisabled veterans who apply through the VA home loan program in order to help offset costs. A number of national veterans organizations submitted a letter supporting the bill, stating it was “time to correct the injustice.” However, Military-Veterans Advocacy argued that the bill would inadvertently limit the number of veterans who would be eligible for benefits if the court ruling were to stand.

To learn more about this bill and how it affects you, click HERE.

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability