The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 granted presumptive service-connection for Agent Orange exposure to vets who served within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam during the Vietnam Era. To receive these benefits, Blue Water vets had to submit a new claim after January 1, 2020, even if they had previously submitted claims that had been denied.
In November 2020, however, the VA received a court order to reopen over 60,000 Agent Orange claims that had been denied due to veterans not having boots on the ground or not serving in the inland waterways in order to ensure that all Blue Water vets received the proper benefits that had previously been denied.
These veterans now do not have to apply to have the VA review their denied claims. The VA will automatically review all eligible claims and notify the veteran or their survivors of the revised decision. The VA, however, has given no timeline for the completion of the review, so there is no way to know how long this review will take or how quickly eligible veterans will start to receive their benefits.
During the review, the VA will determine which of the 60,000+ claims do qualify under the Blue Water requirements. For all claims that qualify, the VA will pay retroactive benefits to the date of the denied claim. If the veteran is deceased, these benefits will be paid to their survivor or their estate.
If your case meets the requirements for the review, you will be notified by the VA, but no action is needed on your part at present.