A ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has mandated that Veteran Affairs benefits must be offered to veterans affected by Agent Orange. The court ruling states that these benefits must be offered starting in 2020, no longer to be delayed by any further court stays from VA.
Agent Orange was an herbicide chemical sprayed on vast areas of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Many in the navy were exposed to the chemical and developed a variety of ailments as a result, including lung cancer, heart problems and Parkinson’s disease.
With the new ruling, it is now possible for South Carolina’s blue water Navy veteran sailors to start receiving VA benefits for the exposure. Thousands of veterans had been trying to secure these benefits for the losses they suffered after being exposed to Agent Orange. Nearly 80,000 veterans had previously applied for the benefits but their claims had been denied. More recently, the VA Secretary had gained a stay which put a temporary halt to all application processing.
The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals now makes it clear that the stay can’t be extended any further beyond 2020. At the same time, blue water veterans can now start filing applications for the VA benefits. According to VA, the processing of these applications will begin in 2020. Priority will be given to the applications of veterans who are facing life-threatening illnesses or are 85 and older.
It is estimated that the total number of veterans who may qualify for these benefits is upwards of 90,000. Some have even claimed the number to be above 400,000. Many veterans who may have qualified for the benefits have already passed away. Those who had previously submitted claims and been denied will be required to re-submit the application. If you or a loved one has been affected by this, contact our Greenville Veterans Disability lawyers today.