Terminally Ill Vet, Caregiver to VA: End Hold on Agent Orange Benefits

Terminally Ill Vet, Caregiver to VA: End Hold on Agent Orange Benefits

House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., speaks about veteran suicide prevention, Monday April 29, 2019, at the House Triangle on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) In an emotional plea on Capitol Hill, former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bobby Daniels called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to end the hold on processing Agent Orange claims for himself and thousands of other “Blue Water” Navy veterans of Vietnam. When the VA put off processing the claims until January 2020 , “It hurt bad,” said Daniels, 79, of New Madrid, Missouri, who has received a terminal prostate cancer diagnosis. President Donald Trump signed a bill in June authorizing disability benefits for victims of Agent Orange who served off the coast of Vietnam. “Like many of my shipmates, we thought we had been handed a major victory,” said Daniels, who served in the engine room of the carrier Lexington off Vietnam. Related: No Decision Yet From VA on New Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases When the VA delayed the claims processing, “it felt like somebody sledge-hammered me across the mouth,” he said. Daniels struggled to his feet and labored to make a statement at a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday with lawmakers and representatives of major veterans service organizations. Caregivers to Blue Water veterans were also caught up in the delay, said Claudia Holt, whose late husband, Frank Holt, served on the destroyer Prichett off Vietnam. Claudia Holt said she quit her job as a nurse to care for her husband, who died in May, a month before Trump signed the Blue Water bill. She now has to wait for survivors’ benefits, she said. Before he died, Frank Holt told her: “You fought for me, now you fight for yourself,” Claudia Holt said. She joined Bobby Daniels in urging […]

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