ROANOKE, Va. – Thousands of Vietnam veterans are now eligible for Agent Orange exposure benefits, even if they’ve been denied in the past.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to provide coverage to newly eligible veterans in 2020.
President Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 which is a law that extends coverage to veterans who served in eligible off-shore waters in Vietnam between Jan. 6, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
Coverage for Agent Orange exposure had been denied to around 90,000 Navy veterans until the act was signed into law a couple of weeks ago.
The U.S. military sprayed the powerful herbicide Agent Orange throughout Vietnam in an effort to “destroy jungle vegetation used as cover by enemy troops”, according to the VA.
Agent Orange has been proven to cause cancer and other serious health issues.
The extended coverage is a way to continue to take care of the country’s veterans, officials say.
“...To let veterans know, they served their country. We’re here for them. We’ve got specially trained individuals that will be making decisions on these claims. They are deserving for compensation and then the accompanying medical treatment, and other benefits they may be entitled to,” said Willie Clark, Deputy Undersecretary, Office of Field Operations, Veterans Benefits Administration.
Veterans and their families should contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs online by clicking here or by calling Veterans Benefits Administration at 1-800-827-1000 or the Special Health Issues department at 1-800-749-8387.