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Veterans Service Agency

Developments / VA News

To help answer some of those questions you may have, the VA's Benefits Book for 2013 is now available online, both in PDF format at http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/federal_benefits.pdf, and broken down by chapter at http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book.asp.


A new Orange County Parks Access Pass is now available for veterans who are 40% or more service connected, disabled, and served wartime. Call the Orange County Parks Department @ (845) 615-3830 for information.


Effective immediately, the VA has decided to establish a service-connection for Vietnam Veterans with three specific illnesses, based on the latest evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to as Agent Orange.

The illnesses affected by the recent decision are: 

  1. B cell leukemias such as hairy cell leukemia. 
  2. Parkinson's disease. 
  3. Ischemic heart disease.


VIETNAM VETERANS – PLEASE NOTE:

If Veterans served on a ship that entered the inland waterways of Vietnam, they should contact navy@bluewaternavy.org with as much detail as possible so they can provide this information to the DVA for processing and inclusion in their data base or they can provide documentation to the HEC for inclusion in the Enrollment System but it does not substitute for filing a claim with VBA.

Please read:

VA Blue Water Claims Update 10: The VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) Service has initiated a program to collect data on Vietnam naval operations for the purpose of providing regional offices with information to assist with development in Haas related disability claims based on herbicide exposure from Navy Veterans. To date, they have received verification from various sources showing that a number of offshore “blue water” naval vessels conducted operations on the inland “brown water” rivers and delta areas of Vietnam. They have also identified certain vessel types that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waterways. The ships and dates of inland waterway service are listed below. If a Veteran’s service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through military records during the time frames specified, then exposure to herbicide agents can be presumed without further development:

  • All vessels of Inshore Fire Support [IFS] Division 93 during their entire Vietnam tour
    a.) USS Carronade (IFS 1)
    b.) USS Clarion River (LSMR 409) [Landing Ship, Medium, Rocket]
    c.) USS Francis River (LSMR 525)
    d.) USS White River (LSMR 536)
  • All vessels with the designation LST [Landing Ship, Tank] during their entire tour [WWII ships converted to transport supplies on rivers and serve as barracks for brown water Mobile Riverine Forces]
  • All vessels with the designation LCVP [Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel] during their entire tour
  • All vessels with the designation PCF [Patrol Craft, Fast] during their entire tour [Also called Swift Boats, operating for enemy interdiction on close coastal waters]
  • All vessels with the designation PBR [Patrol Boat, River] during their entire tour [Also called River Patrol Boats as part of the Mobile Riverine Forces operating on inland waterways and featured in the Vietnam film “Apocalypse Now”]
  • USS Ingersoll (DD-652) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, OCT 24-25, 1965]
  • USS Mansfield (DD-728) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River AUG 8-19, 1967 and DEC 21-24, 1968]
  • USS Richard E. Kraus (DD-849) [Destroyer] [Operated on coastal inlet north of Da Nang, JUN 2-5, 1966, protecting Marines holding a bridge]
  • USS Basilone (DD-824) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, MAY 24-25, 1966]
  • USS Hamner (DD-718) [Destroyer] [Operated on Song Lon Tao and Long Song Tao Rivers, AUG 15-SEP 1, 1966]
  • USS Conway (DD-507) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, early AUG 1966]
  • USS Fiske (DD-842) [Destroyer] [Operated on Mekong River, JUN 16-21, 1966]
  • USS Black (DD-666) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, JUL 13-19, 1966]
  • USS Providence (CLG-6) [Cruiser, Light, Guided Missile] [Operated on Saigon River 3 days during JAN 1964]
  • USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] [Operated on Saigon River OCT 24-28, 1964]
  • USS Okanogan (APA-220) [Attack Transport] [Operated on Saigon River JUL 22-23, 29-30, 1968 and AUG 5-6, 1968]
  • USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) [Combat Stores Ship] [Unloaded supplies on Saigon River and Cam Rahn Bay, APR 22-25, 1968]. Also, Cam Ranh Bay is a qualifying location for "inland waterway" service

If you served on any of those vessels during the times specified, you will be granted, without further development and delay, a presumptive exposure to herbicides for the purpose of health care and monetary compensation. Note: This list is not complete. If you served on a ship that entered the inland waterways of Vietnam, please contact navy@bluewaternavy.org with as much detail as possible so they can provide this information to the DVA for processing and inclusion in their data base[Source: Compensation & Pension Service Bulletin Jan 2010 Policy 211 ++]  

Click here for a listing of Navy and Coast Guard Ships Associated with Sservice in Vietnam and Exposure to Herbicide Agents


Subject: NYS DVA Announcement 3-08: Social Security Benefits for Wounded Warriors

Military service members receive expedited processing of their disability applications from Social Security. In fact, under an agreement initiated by Social Security, the Department of Defense now transmits information to them that allows them to quickly identify military personnel injured in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The expedited process is available for any military service members who become disabled during active duty on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

If someone you know, was wounded while on active duty, find out more by visiting the website designed specifically for Veterans : www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. There, you will find answers to a number of commonly asked questions, as well as other useful information about disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Please pay special attention to the fact sheets available on that website titled Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors and Expediting Disability Applications for Wounded Warriors.

You’ll also find links to useful VA websites, such as the “Seamless Transition Home” link, and the “Veterans ONline APPlication” website.

Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel also may be able to receive benefits, including dependent children and spouses. For the families of service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Social Security survivors benefits may be payable. To learn more about eligibility for survivors benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/survivorplan.


News from Assemblyman Daniel J. Burling (147thAssembly District):

Burling: Cold War Veterans to Receive Property Tax Exemption (9/12/07)

Assemblyman Dan Burling (R.C,I-Warsaw) today announced that Governor Spitzer has signed into law legislation that will provide a property tax exemption for Cold War veterans. The legislation passed the Assembly in June by a vote of 131-4.

“Until now, Cold War veterans have been excluded from many benefits the state provided to those who served in combat,” said Burling. “The property tax exemption for Cold War veterans is a positive step forward and will help alleviate the property tax burden on these brave men and women.”

Cold War veterans are defined as anyone who served honorably in the United States Armed Forces between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991.

Under the newly enacted law, localities have the option to grant either a 10% or 15% real property tax exemption to Cold War veterans beginning January 3, 2008. The exemption will apply to assessment rolls prepared based on taxable status dates occurring on or after such date.