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Washington Update for 11/1/2019

House Veterans Affairs Committee Passes and sends 10 bills to House Floor

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs considered ten bills on October 29, 2019. All ten bills were passed and sent to the full House of Representatives for action.

A.N.S. Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute

  1. A.N.S. to H.R. 4771 - to permit appellants to appear in disability compensation cases before the Board of Veterans Appeals by picture and voice transmission from locations other than VA facilities.
  2. H.R. 4852 - the GIVE Act.
  3. H.R. 4356 - Protecting Families of Fallen Servicemembers Act.
  4. A.N.S. to H.R 2227 - Gold Star spouses and Spouses of Injured Servicemembers Leasing Relief Expansion Act of 2019.
  5. H.R. 4183 - Identifying Barriers and Best Practices Study.
  6. H.R. 4360 - VA Overpayment Accountability Act.
  7. H.R. 3996 - VA Design-Build Construction Enhancement Act of 2019.
  8. A.N.S. to H.R. 3530 - Improving Confidence in Veterans Care Act.
  9. H.R. 1424 - Fallen Warrior Battlefield Cross Memorial Act.
  10. A.N.S. to H.R. 3224 - the Deborah Sampson Act.

 

VA to Begin Reaching Out to Navy Blue Water Veterans

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs will soon mail letters to Blue Water Navy veterans and survivors who were previously denied benefits. The letters provide updated eligibility requirements approved in the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, the paperwork required of a veteran or survivor, and available resources to assist in the claims process.

The law says that veterans who served offshore of the Republic of Vietnam from 1962-1975 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other harmful herbicides. Exposure to these herbicides have been linked to a list of several harmful medical conditions:

  • AL amyloidosis
  • Chloracne or similar acneform disease
  • Chronic B-cell leukemias
  • Diabetes mellitus Type 2
  • Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early-onset
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea)
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma).

 

The Veterans Benefits Administration has confirmed payments will begin being processed on Jan. 1, 2020. The two links below provide detailed information for Blue Water Navy veterans and their survivors, including instructions to submit or resubmit a claim.

https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/navy-coast-guard-ships-vietnam/

Fact sheet: Blue Water Navy Veterans and Agent Orange (PDF)
Frequently asked questions: Blue Water Navy Veterans and disability benefits (PDF)

 

VA is prioritizing claims for people who are homeless, terminally ill, over the age of 85, or in a dire financial situation. If this pertains to you or someone you know, be sure to notify the veterans service office you are working with or, as always reach out to TREA for assistance.

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