WASHINGTON — Vietnam veteran Bobby Daniels has between 24 to 32 months to live, and he’s using some of those to ensure that his wife receives the benefits she’s owed when he’s gone.
Daniels, 79, is diagnosed with terminal prostate and bone cancer, thought to be associated with his military service. He served aboard the USS Lexington and is a “Blue Water” Navy veteran — those who worked aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships in the territorial seas of Vietnam.
Daniels and other Blue Water veterans — a group that fought for years to prove they were exposed to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange — saw some major wins during the past year. They won a federal court case that granted them VA benefits. In June, they witnessed the passage of a new law, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, that reinforces their eligibility for disability compensation.
However, about a week after President Donald Trump signed the legislation, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie imposed a hold on processing Blue Water claims until next year, citing a provision in the new law that says the secretary can enforce a stay on claims until the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.