Michigan veterans may be able to file presumptive claims related to exposure to herbicides from their service in Vietnam. In august of 2010, the VA released a list of over thirty (30) presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides.
The VA also tweaked its rules with regard exposure to these herbicides to include naval and other veterans that did not have “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam era. A great example are United States Navy Veterans. Blue Water Veterans are those who served in deep water, but did not actually dock or set foot on land in Vietnam; whereas, Brown Water veterans patrolled the inland shoals and waterways.
Brown Water veterans are covered by statute related to presumptive conditions; whereas, Blue Water veterans must prove that they were directly exposed (forming a nexus) and are not covered presumptively, with the exception of those with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (which is presumptive to Blue Water service).
In presumptive cases, the Blue Water veteran must have set foot on ground or served on ships that went into the waterways–the burden is on the veteran to prove he or she was actually on a ship that was in these waterways. The VA has provided a list of ships that may qualify. You may click on this link to be forwarded to these lists.
Any veteran who can prove direct exposure to Agent Orange or another herbicide can still be granted benefits, but would have to prove the exposure and associated medical condition.
If you are a Michigan Veteran and need assistance in the Detroit area or West Michigan, please call 1-866-529-3537; (586) 264-3756; or, (616) 931-3670.