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Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Claims


Last updated 6/16/2021 at 10:09am | View PDF

One of the first lawsuits brought against the Department of Veterans Affairs for benefits for veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange was in 1986. At issue in Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was the fact that the only medical condition acknowledged by the VA was chloracne ... a very serious skin condition caused by exposure to dioxins and dibenzofurans. It’s been a very long haul since then to get the VA to acknowledge (and pay for) other damage done by Agent Orange.

The Nehmer Law was created for veterans, spouses, children and parents of any Vietnam veteran who should have received exposure benefits but didn’t. Since 1991, the VA has paid out billions of dollars in AO exposure benefits for diabetes, ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancers and more, but they’ve resisted every step of the way.

In November 2020, attorneys went back to court to force the VA to address the exposure suffered by Blue Water Navy veterans who literally drank, breathed and showered in AO while on ships in the harbor. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 extended the presumption of exposure to include more than aboard-ship service.

Now, thanks again to Nehmer, the VA is required to readjudicate any denied Blue Water claims. The reviews started in April. No new claim is required, and any changes to claims are supposed to be automatic. It applies not only to veterans, but their survivors as well. Still at issue is whether the VA will pay retroactively for denied claims.

To learn more, go online to and search for H.R.299 -- Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. For eligibility specifics, go to and search for Agent Orange. And if you’d like to know where the class action lawsuit began, look up Beverly Nehmer.

(c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.


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