The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act has been signed into law. The legislation requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide disability benefits to veterans of the Vietnam War who served in the Navy and were exposed to Agent Orange. Rep. Josh Harder cosponsored the bill, voted to pass it through the House, has already helped six Central Valley residents impacted by the decision, and will host a workshop with Stanislaus County Veterans Service Office to help affected veterans understand next steps.
“This is a huge win for tens of thousands of Blue Water Navy vets who served in Vietnam but haven’t gotten the health care they need because of a meaningless regulation,” said Rep. Harder. “Everyone who served and was harmed by Agent Orange deserves treatment without all the runaround, and now they’ve got it.”
Veterans who served on the ground or on rivers during the Vietnam War already have guaranteed access to health care benefits for cancer and other conditions caused by Agent Orange, but Navy veterans who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam did not enjoy the same protections. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act passed unanimously through the House and Senate and was signed into law this past week.
Veterans who served in the Navy off the coast of Vietnam during the war and think they may be affected should contact Rep. Harder’s office to receive information on the forthcoming workshop and receive assistance with any other issues with the VA.