WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of thousands of so-called Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and their survivors Nov. 5.
The ruling was in response to a motion filed by attorneys from the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) to enforce the 29-Year Old Class Action Consent Decree in Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Administration. The Court ordered the VA to automatically readjudicate thousands of benefits claims that the Court found had been wrongly denied under the Consent Decree. The Court also ordered the VA to pay retroactive compensation if it finds the veteran served in the territorial seas of Vietnam.
“We applaud the Court’s recognition that Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and their survivors have been wrongly denied retroactive disability and death benefits ever since 2002, when VA reversed its prior position and denied the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam,” said National Veterans Legal Services Program Executive Director Bart Stichman. “These veterans and their surviving family members have already been waiting years for benefits to which they are entitled under the Consent Decree simply because they did not set foot in the land mass of Vietnam.”