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Friday, September 08, 2006

VA Issues: EVANS (D-IL) URGES "BLUE WATER" VETERANS AND SURVIVORS TO FILE CLAIMS



EVANS URGES "BLUE WATER" VETERANS AND SURVIVORS TO FILE CLAIMS WITH VA FOR DISABILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH AGENT ORANGE

Washington, D.C.---Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL), ranking Democratic member of the House Veterans' Affaits Committee and senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee, urges veterans and their survivors who have been exposed to Agent Orange in the territorial waters of Vietnam to file claims for disability compensation with the Dept of VA in light of a recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. VA has 60 days to decide whether or not to appeal the decision.

In Haas v. Nicholson, the Court held that veterans who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam and who contracted a disease related to exposure to Agent Orange type herbicides did not have to prove that they stepped on the land of Vietnam in order to qualify for compensation.

"I want to make veterans and military families aware of their potential eligibility for service-connected compensation as the result of this court decision. It is important for veterans and survivors to apply for benefits now, so that their eligibility can be evaluated under the court ruling," said Evans. "Under earlier VA Agent Orange regulations, which were later invalidated, some veterans lost benefits because they never applied for them. I do not want to see that happen again," continued Evans.

Evans recommends that veterans who received the Vietnam Service Medal or who served in the territorial waters off Vietnam file a claim for service-connection of disabilities that have been associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Examples of these disabilities include: Chloracne, Type 2 Diabetes, Hodgkin's Disease, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Porphyria cutanea tarda, Prostate cancer, Respiratory cancers and Soft tissue sarcomas. Survivors of veterans who died from such disabilites may be eligible for VA-provided Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, as well.

"I hope this information will be useful to veterans and their survivors. I also encourage the VA to work with veterans seeking assistance in filing service-connection claims for benefits," added Evans. Additional information concerning the case may be found on the Web site of the National Veterans Legal Services Program.

From the Office of Lane Evans (D-IL)
September 6, 2006

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