The Monroe County Veterans Affairs Department is reaching out to Vietnam Navy veterans to inform them of a recent federal court decision that could lead to collecting previously denied benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.
The opinion in Procopio vs. Wilkie eliminates the distinction between Vietnam War Veterans who served on land and those who served on a ship in territorial waters from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975 in relation to the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange. The court defined the phrase “served in the Republic of Vietnam” to now include service in its territorial waters.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes the following diseases as related to Agent Orange: Chronic B-cell Leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers, and Soft Tissue Sarcomas. Other illnesses believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange: AL Amyloidosis, Chloracne Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy-Early Onset, and Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.
To see the list of ships currently identified by the United States Department of Veterans as having contact with Agent Orange, go to www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/navy-coast-guard-ships-vietnam/.
If you are a Vietnam War Veteran and were previously denied benefits and are currently diagnosed with an Agent Orange-related disease, contact Monroe County Veterans Affairs office at 305-295-5150 in Key West or 305-453-8777 in Key Largo for additional information.
Surviving spouses of Vietnam Veterans previously denied or who never filed a claim for an Agent Orange-related disease are also encouraged to file for the tax-free monetary Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or whose death was a result of a service-related injury or disease by contacting the Veterans Affairs offices.