READ THE STORYBlue Water Navy Vietnam veterans will have to continue to wait until next year before the Department of Veterans Affairs begins to process their long-awaited Agent Orange disability benefits claims.
There was no indication from Congress or VA leaders during a Wednesday hearing on the subject that there was a plan to lift the delay put in place earlier this year.
About a week after Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Act -- a long-awaited measure to grant benefits to certain veterans who served in the waters off of Vietnam -- VA Secretary Robert Wilkie issued a stay on processing any Blue Water claims until January 2020, first reported by Connecting Vets.
Veterans and members of Congress have repeatedly called on Wilkie to lift the stay and begin processing at least the claims of the oldest or most critically ill. Veteran service organizations have appealed to the White House, asking Trump to lift the stay himself. Some veterans have gone so far as to file a lawsuit to lift the stay.
Dying veterans exposed to Agent Orange and widows of those already passed have come to Washington pleading for benefits.