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From Chuck Weber, your Veteran Service Officer...
Court of Appeals Ruling

Yesterday the US Federal Court of Appeals decided the Procopio case in favor of the Claimant, which means the Agent Orange Act applies to Vietnam territorial waters. See the attached opinion of the Court. This means that the VA must pay disability claims of all Vietnam servicemembers for Agent Orange exposure regardless of their location in the RVN.

If VA officials opt not to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court in the next 90 days (they can ask for a 60 day extension for 150 days) — or if the Supreme Court decides not to hear the case (only a small percentage of cases are heard due to the selection process and they may not want to hear a 9-2 panel decision) — the outcome means that up to 90,000 Blue Water Veterans could see disability payouts as early as this year.

We’ll hope for the best, but I have no doubt that the VA will stall and distort the judgment of the Court in any way possible.

HR 299 has been reactivated in Congress to specifically grant eligibility to Blue Water Veterans, but as we just witnessed a month ago, it failed due to just a couple of Senators.

What this means for USS Rich crewmembers on Vietnam cruises is that, if they haven’t already, now is the time file VA disability claims for any of the conceded diseases and conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. Even if they have, there may be secondary conditions related to them and they should file for them also. For example, Adult on-set Type 2 diabetes mellitus is one of the conceded AO diseases. If the veteran also has ED (erectile dysfunction) that is an additional secondary diabetes related condition. File for that also.

Remember that all disability payments must be paid back to the date of receipt of the claim by the VA.

For a list of all AO conceded diseases, go to:

Yours in service,
Chuck Weber
Veterans Service Officer

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