Finally, some good news on this matter! The Secretary of the VA, Mr. Robert Wilkie, has just announced the VA will not appeal a January court ruling that ordered it to provide health care and disability benefits to our Vietnam War, “Blue Water Navy” veterans.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had until about 29 April to appeal to the Supreme Court the 9-2 decision made on 29 January by the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit which reversed a decade-old ruling by the Appeals Court for Veterans Claims that applied to an estimated 52,000 veterans nationwide. Called the Procopio case, it overruled the VA’s decision to unfairly exclude those who served in the Blue Water Navy off the coast of Vietnam from applying for Agent Orange healthcare and compensation benefits, as we have reported previously.
The lack of resolve from the Congress to appropriately weigh in on behalf of seriously-ailing constituents (many now dead) to smoothly resolve this matter will now fade from memory. However, it should be remembered that it took a veteran with the assistance of various veterans organizations to do what they could not.
Next step? Assuming there will be no problems out of the Department of Justice, the regulatory change process now must enter into high gear, undoubtedly. Almost there. And if you have been affected, it does not mean you cannot file your claim now. One caution: do not do it yourself. See an accredited veterans service officer.
As of 26 March 2019