The Federal Circuit issued an opinion in Procopio v. Wilkie. This decision determined the phrase "served in the Republic of Vietnam" now covers service on the Vietnam mainland, inland waterways and service on a ship within 12 miles of the mainland.
This decision did away with the blue water/brown water distinction.
At this time, the Under Secretary for Benefits has directed the Regional Offices not to issue decisions on claims effected by Procopio "until … litigation and subsequent determinations have been resolved".
In the meantime, new cases filed or appeals effected by Procopio will be accepted as a claim/appeal, but not adjudicated. The VA should be sending letters out to Veterans who were denied and the claim would have been affected by the Procopio decision.
We recommend denied veterans who are within one year of denial, appeal the decision. If you are past the one year point, file a new claim.
If you have never filed and you have one of more of the presumptive illnesses, now is the time to file.
With the Procopio opinion, some 50,000 to 70,000 additional navy veterans will now be presumed exposed to Agent Orange.
To file your claim you will need the following:
A. Your DD-214.
B. The name of the ship on which you served.
C. The time period the ship was within the 12 miles of Vietnam.
D. Some type of proof you were on the ship (deck log, ship registry, cruise yearbook with the veteran’s name, letters to home or from home that mention the ship name, lay statements from other sailors, etc.).
D. If you are married, your marriage license / certificate.
E. Your Bank Account Number and Routing Number for Direct Deposit.
If you are a widow of a veteran who was previously denied, we strongly encourage you to file for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This is a tax free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
If you live in Davidson County, North Carolina, please call the Veteran Services Office at 336-242-2037 for more information.