A win for the Navy!!!

The Department of Justice will drop its appeal of a federal court decision awarding disability benefits to tens of thousands of veterans who claim exposure to cancer-
causing chemical defoliants while serving in the seas near Vietnam, handing advocates what appears to be a final legal victory. In a filing with the Supreme Court, Justice
Department officials said they will not argue for overturning the case which undid years of VA policy denying benefits to about 90,000 “blue water” Navy veterans.

Congressional Budget Office officials had estimated awarding the benefits to the blue water veterans could total about $1.1 billion over 10 years, but VA officials in the past have estimated the total could rise to more than $5.5 billion. Justice lawyers had twice asked for extensions to file an appeal, even as VA officials publicly said they believed the lower court decision should stand. Congressional leaders and outside advocates had also argued against an appeal.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-CA and ranking member Phil Roe, R-TN said they were “encouraged by DOJ’s decision not to appeal and further delay benefits to our Blue Water Navy veterans.” At issue is a VA decision in the past to treat the sailors’ disability benefit claims differently from other troops who served in Vietnam.

Full article, HERE at Military.com

This has been a LONG time coming… 50 years basically… I remember the fight one of my shipmates went through. He was a brown water sailor in Swift Boats 1966-67, and had been exposed to Agent Orange. He fought for years to get care, and was denied time after time. Ken died in 2009, and two weeks later his wife got a letter from the VA FINALLY approving his Agent Orange claims and disability…


A win for the Navy!!! — 15 Comments

  1. So, the concern is not if the vets need the medical care from being exposed to chemicals and situations the government deemed necessary to expose them too…it is a concern about how the government wont be able to pay out the benefit?? Gotta say I am positive that if I took a look at the entire federal budget, that I could EASILY find ways to save more than 5.5 billion dollars…and it ABSOLUTELY would not be by taking it away from sick and dying men and women who answered the call when their government said I need you!!!!

    Talk about an optics situation!!Holy crap!!!

    kicking the rant box off to the side, and looking for blood pressure meds…

  2. Glad to see this FINALLY happen. I’ve been places that were heavily sprayed and have had issues that may, or may not, have been contributed to by that exposure. I also had a friend who was a river rat back in the day. Cancer got him. Including the blue water guys is way past due.

  3. Good news! I guess that means I only have to wait another thirty years before the Desert Storm Syndrome will be recognized!

    • They knew that those anti-chemwar inoculations could have very bad side effects. I was cautioned by a friend in the intel community to refuse the shot, which I did. A lot of people didn’t have my flexibility and they just took the shot. I suspect that’s at the core of Gulf War Syndrome. I’m sure that it will be settled two weeks after the last veteran died.

  4. Maybe we could ask Iran to give back the 1.5 billion Obumer gave to help out our vets?

  5. A friend of mine, blue water Navy in Vietnam, got exposed to various chemicals including Agent Orange multiple times. The VA denied every claim. He used to say that they’d start recognizing claims when there were so few veterans left it wouldn’t cost much to treat the survivors.

    Bob didn’t make it; he died in a VA hospice a few years back, of causes they were still denying were related to chemical exposure.

    When the VA hospital in San Diego realized he was going terminal they shipped him to some hospice near San Francisco and then… lost him. His voicemail box filled up, I tried paper mail, every email address I had, looked up public arrest records, death notices, and anything else I could find online, nothing. I called the VA hospital he used in San Diego; they wouldn’t admit to ever having heard of him. He’d vanished from the face of the Earth.

    Nearly a year later I got a call from an unrecognized number on my land line, then a few minutes later the same number on my cellphone. I picked it up (maybe four people have both numbers) and it was Bob’s brother, who had been contacted by the company carrying Bob’s life insurance, who were apparently the only people who knew Bob had passed away months before. His brother had tried to get hold of Bob too, but they weren’t all that close, and lived on opposite sides of the country.

    So, Bob had died, but direct deposit was still putting his Social Security,and disability checks in his account, and direct withdrawal was paying his rent, car payment, utilities, and phone bill. Bob’s life was still carrying on, just not with Bob in it.

    In a typical VA fustercluck, the hospice apparently never informed anyone Bob was dead; his brother wasn’t sure how the insurance company found out. There was no death certificate issued, and apparently nobody was sure what had happened to his body, as they had him listed as “indigent.”

    Bob would likely have found the whole situation hilarious…

    I’ve had my current cellphone for twelve years. Most of the people in its dialing directory are dead now. I call it the “+10 Cellphone of Doom”. Maybe it’s a good thing Verizon is shutting down 3G at the end of the year…

    • My son-in-law has a claim in from his time at Bagram. Accountability stops at the Big Government pocket book. He was interrogating prisoners at the POW cage for a year, and it was next to the burn pit.

  6. Everyone should see the ‘LESIONS” some VETS develop due to Agent Orange exposure.

  7. You’ve made me scared, the kid’s going in in August. Well, no one ever said it’d be easy.

  8. Hey Old NFO;

    About time, they are waiting for more vets to kick off, they finally recognized my Dad’s COPD from agent Orange, he is the only guy from his platoon still around, all the others are gone some from life events, some from Charlie and some from cancer. Now at the rate the VA is going, it will be 30 years before they realize that there is something to the “Gulf War Syndrome” but I won’t be here so it won’t matter except as a footnote in history.

  9. wow, I had no idea. What a travesty they had to wait so long and so many have passed in that time. To say ‘About time’ is not enough.