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Support >  Veteran Resources  

Last update: 02/03/2013

Comment or Question?
 

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IOM:  Gulf War and Health Volume 9: Treatment for Chronic Mult-symptom Illness
 
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Veterans Administration: Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System 

"Welcome to the Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System. This website is dedicated to processing claims for Vietnam Veterans who are claiming service connection for any of the following conditions:

Ischemic Heart Disease | Hairy Cell and other B-Cell Leukemias |
Parkinson's Disease | Prostate Cancer | Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia |
Hodgkin's Disease | Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma | Multiple Myeloma
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Comments on above resource by G:

This week the VA awarded my claim for CLL related service connected disability.

I have been aware of the CLL/Agent Orange connection for at least ten years. But if you surf the VA webpages regarding AO, it mostly covers boots-on-the-ground and brown water Navy vets. I always thought that it is was caused by airborne exposure; thus, as a blue water Navy vet (Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club -- Class of 65), I did not think that my CLL was caused by that service.

I recently learned that the Australian Navy also operated in the Vietnamese offshore waters in that era. They noticed that a significant number of their sailors, 50% above the statistical norm of the general
population, were being diagnosed with NHL. Their study of the root cause determined that the most likely connection was that the Orange haze settled into the sea and then into the potable water. Their shipboard
distillers in that era did not filter out the toxins.

The distillers on American ships during the war were similar. Based on the Australian result, the CDC also attributed NHL to toxins in the water. In June 2011, the VA ruled that NHL in blue water Navy Vietnam Veterans was a presumptive condition connected with service in Vietnamese offshore waters and does not required proof of exposure (see 38 CFR 3.313).

This ruling is also found in the VA training manual, M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section C. Item 10u in that section reiterates 38 CFR 3.313. In item 10v, the subcategories of NHL that are included in this ruling are outlined; CLL and SLL are listed in 10v. You need this information when you talk to the VA or a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representative because many of them are not familiar with this ruling; also, it is difficult to find it in the fine print of the VA webpages.

I will be happy to help and advise, as best I can, any fellow blue water vets who find themselves in this same boat, pun intended. It is critical that you use the right wording and supply the correct info when
applying. At first the VA will steer you in the boots-on-ground or brown water direction; you need to immediately redirect their processing to 3.313. I cannot say how fast a normal 3.313 application is processed,
but I have heard six or more months. It is important that you don't consider it as Agent Orange connected; it is NHL related and covered under 3.313. After the initial hiccup in claim direction, my claim was awarded in less than three months, but I think that there was an invisible hand helping in the process.

I special thanks to Pat whose advice and knowledge motivated me while pursuing the claim. I also receive significant help and advice form the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association.

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Great information, G

I also was a blue water Navy vet, on a hospital ship directly off the coast and sometimes in harbor in I Corps. I was diagnosed in 1999 with SLL/CLL but did not apply for disability until around 2005. The claim was substantiated, but payments were declined due to a 0% disability rating due to a remission.

I reapplied in 2009 when my remission ended and I needed treatment again. At that point I was found 100% disabled. A year later, a judge in a class action suit (Nehmer v. US) ruled that benefits retroactive to my first application were required. That later review took about 4 months.
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