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IMMEDIATE RELEASE





Press Release

August 18, 2006

No. 06-30



Contact:
Mokie Porter
301-585-4000, Ext. 146

Vietnam Veterans of America Applauds Recent Court Decision
In Favor of Service Members Who Served in the Offshore Waters of Vietnam



(Washington, D.C. ) – “Some of the inequities of the application of presumptive coverage for exposure to Agent Orange have finally been set aside,” said John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America. “We need to spread the word about this decision to all Navy veterans who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam and received the Vietnam Service Medal (VSM).  This Court decision will allow for an untold number of veterans and their families to receive the compensation and health care they are entitled to, as well as other VA programs,” Rowan said.

On August 16, 2006, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims rendered a decision in the appeal of Haas v. Nicholson.  In their 31-page decision, the Court determined the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been unlawfully denying presumptive disability compensation for exposure to Agent Orange (AO) for service members who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam and earned the VSM.

Numerous veterans who served in Vietnam have been able to qualify for presumptive disability compensation for exposure to AO.  Unfortunately the application of presumptive coverage has resulted in many inequities for veterans and their families.  An example of this can be seen in the VA’s denials of presumptive service connection to service members who served on boats and ships off the coast of Vietnam.  Although these veterans earned and received the VSM, many have had their claims denied by VA for presumptive disability due to AO exposure because they did not step foot on the ground in Vietnam.

“All veterans who served in the waters offshore need to speak with a service representative or service officer as soon as possible to see if they have a viable claim for compensation,” Rowan said. These veterans should also participate in the Agent Orange registry exam.  I fully expect the VA will attempt to rescind and revise their interpretation of the law.  If you have had a claim denied or have never filed, you must do so before the regulations change again in favor of the VA.”

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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