Friday, September 02, 2011

Very Important Information for Vietnam Era Navy Veterans





VA Posts Online List of Ships Associated
with Presumptive Agent Orange
Exposure



WASHINGTON (Sept. 2, 2011)- Veterans who served aboard U.S. Navy and
Coast Guard ships operating on the waters of Vietnam between January 9,
1962, and May 7, 1975, may be eligible to receive Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) disability compensation for 14 medical conditions
associated with presumptive exposure to Agent Orange.

An updated list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships confirmed to have
operated on Vietnam's inland waterways, docked on shore, or had
crewmembers sent ashore, has been posted at
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/ to assist Vietnam
Veterans in determining potential eligibility for compensation benefits.


"Posting of the ships list is an important recognition of the sacrifices
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Veterans made for this Nation," said Secretary
of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "It provides an easier path for
Veterans who served in Vietnam to get the benefits and services they are
entitled to under the law."

VA presumes herbicide exposure for any Veteran with duty or visitation
within the country of Vietnam or on its inland waterways during the
Vietnam era. Comprehensive information about the 14 recognized
illnesses under VA's "presumption" rule for Agent Orange is also located
on the webpage.

In practical terms, Veterans with qualifying Vietnam service who develop
a disease associated with Agent Orange exposure need not prove a medical
link between their illnesses and their military service. This
presumption simplifies and speeds up the application process for
benefits.

For questions about Agent Orange and the online list of ships, Veterans
may call VA's Special Issues Helpline at 1-800-749-8387 and press 3.

When a claim is filed by a Veteran, surviving spouse or child, VA will
determine whether the Veteran qualifies for the presumption of exposure
based on official records of the ship's operations. Ships will be
regularly added to the list based on information confirmed in these
official records.

Even if a Veteran is not filing a claim, a Veteran may conduct his or
her own research and submit scanned documentary evidence such as deck
logs, ship histories, and cruise book entries via email to
211_AOSHIPS.VBACO@va.gov.

Service on board ships anchored in an open water harbor, such as Da Nang
Harbor, or on ships on other open waters around Vietnam during the war,
is not considered sufficient for the presumption of Agent Orange
exposure. For Veterans interested in obtaining deck logs, contact the
National Archives at College Park, Md., at
http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/college-park/researcher-info.html.

The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website located at
https://www.fasttrack.va.gov/AOFastTrack/ may be used to submit claims
related to the three conditions added to the list of Agent Orange
presumptives last year (Parkinson's disease, hairy cell and other
chronic B-cell leukemias, and ischemic heart disease).

This website makes it easy to electronically file a claim and allows
Veterans and their physicians to upload evidence supporting the claim.
It also permits online viewing of claim status.

Veterans claiming other conditions may file online at VA's My-eBenefits
web site at:
https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal. They
can check the status of their claim with a premium account (confirming
their identity), and use a growing number of online services.

Servicemembers may enroll in My-eBenefits using their Common Access Card
at any time during their military service, or before they leave during
their Transition Assistance Program briefings.

Veterans may also enroll through their myPay or MyHealtheVet accounts,
by visiting their local VA regional office or Veteran Service
Organization, or by calling 1-800-827-1000.

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