Blue Water Navy And Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

VA often makes changes in their regulations that affect veterans.  Vietnam era veterans have experienced many of those changes.

For years, VA made it very difficult for veterans to prove their medical conditions that were caused by Agent Orange exposure.  Changes in VA’s regulations created presumptions so that veterans who served in Vietnam often did not have to prove actual exposure.  These presumptions also helped veterans show that Agent Orange caused certain medical conditions.

But, VA does not treat all Vietnam veterans equally.  VA divides Vietnam veterans into two groups.

  • Veterans who served “boots on the ground”
  • Veterans who served on ships

Senior man with laptop and letter in kitchen 1 Veterans who served “boots on the ground” benefits from the Agent Orange presumptions.  On the other hand, VA classifies veterans who served on ships into two basic types:

  • Brown water veterans
  • Blue water veterans

Brown water veterans generally receive the Agent Orange presumption.  Blue water veterans can sometimes receive the presumption, but there are special rules that may apply.

The rules that apply generally very depending upon which ship the veteran served.  VA also updates the ship list on occasion and moves ships from one category to another on the list.

What if I am a Blue Water Veteran with non-Hodgkins lymphoma?

VA has so many different regulations and rules that it can be difficult to keep up with all of them.  VA treats non-Hodgkins lymphoma differently that one Agent Orange diseases.  You may not be aware of this.

The regulation that specifically applies to Vietnam veterans with non-Hodgkins lymphoma is regulation 38 CFR 3.313.  This regulation applies to you if you a Blue Water veteran who served in the offshore waters of Vietnam during that conflict.

The regulation indicates that VA will  service connect your non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma if you develop it after your service.  This regulation applies to Blue Water veterans because it states that “service in Vietnam” includes, “service in the waters offshore, or service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in Vietnam.”

So, veterans usually classified as “Blue Water” should be able to get service connection from VA for non-Hodgkins lymphoma even if they did not go on shore.  The regulation specifically says “service in the waters offshore” or “service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in Vietnam”.

When do I have to serve to qualify under the 38 CFR3.313 regulation?

The regulation indicates that a veteran must serve “during the Vietnam era”.  The Agent Orange regulation defines the Vietnam era as January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975.

Does this right to service-connection for non-Hodgkins lymphoma apply to all Vietnam veterans?

Maybe.  Blue Water Navy veterans who served “in the waters offshore” are definitely included.

Service in Vietnam is also definitely included.  VA includes Non-Hodgkins lymphoma on the list of conditions presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure.  So, veterans who served “boots on the ground” can qualify under that rule.

38 CFR 3.313 also states that “service in Vietnam” includes “service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in Vietnam”.  This specifies that veterans who served or visited Vietnam as a condition of their service are covered by the 38 CFR 3.313 regulation.

One interesting question is whether this regulation covers any veterans other than Blue Water veterans who are not otherwise covered by the Agent Orange presumption.   Laws normally do not duplicate and restate the same principle that is covered by another law.

Veteran receiving cancer treatment Another part of VA’s regulations already establishes that Vietnam veterans who served “boots on the ground” can qualify for the Agent Orange presumption for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  So, why would VA essentially state the same thing again in 38 CFR 3.313?

There does not really seem to be a reason to include this.  This may provide an argument that this regulation potentially covers some veterans who served in the Vietnam era and visited Vietnam that are not Blue Water, Brown Water, or “boots on the ground”.

What should I do if I have a non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis and believe that I qualify for benefits under this regulation?

You should file your claim for VA disability benefits.  Applying for benefits generally protects your right to benefits.

Some veterans lose potential benefits they should receive because they do not file early enough.  This article explains more about when and how to file your claim.

What will happen after I file my claim?

If this regulation applies to you, you should receive service connection from VA for your non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis.  But, VA often does not get things right.

They may deny your claim.  If they do, you may need to file an appeal to receive the benefits you should.

If you have any questions or need help with an appeal, please feel free to reach out to us.  We provide free consultations to veterans in veterans disability claims.  This consultation helps you get your questions answered.

This article explains more about how a free veterans disability consultation works.  If you would like to set one up, just call us at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit the consultation request form on this page.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Thank you Jason and Tina for everything you've done. Much appreciated. Great law firm! Great results!! Thank you!!! (Austin and Valerie)Valerie Mellinger
Travis and the team working on my VA claim are awesome. I’m happy with their integrity and diligence on working on my claim.Chris “Greybeard” Mullennix
I can't express enough how great it was to work with Perkins Studdard. They are extremely knowledgeable, professional and keep you aware of everything happening with your case. Very friendly from the front office to Mr. Perkins. I would HIGHLY recommend Perkins Studdard!James Strickland
I recommend Travis for an Veteran that has been dealing with constant denial with claims. He also , cover cost for my nexus letter when I ran into financial troubles , that helped me win my case.edwin Cook
I highly recommend Travis Studdard to represent anyone looking to help with VA claims. The VA is very difficult to deal with when attempting to get benefits from service connected injuries, at least that's my experience. Travis and his team knows the VA system and the legal procedures to help you get what you deserve. Travis was kind and passionate with me throughout this process and therefore, I highly recommend this law firm to represent DAV's.Terry Hembree
Such an awesome team. They spoke to me like a person and helped me through every decision with knowledge.Kevin Collett
Highly recommend this firm. Did exactly what they said they were going to and fairly timely. The VA is sometimes extremely difficult to navigate but this took all the leg work away from me and got me the result I thought was fair.Andrew Boone
Amazing staff, very informed along with excellent communication. Within just a few weeks of work, Mr Studdard was able to make things happen that normally take years! Highly recommendJacob Sylvester
Perkins Studdard LLC is the place you need to be if you have a Workers Comp case going on! Mr. Jason Perkins and his staff get the results that you need. They work with you and fight for you.Coming from another lawyer my husband and I were really surprised and appreciated the communication and honesty and understanding throughout the entire process. My husband loves the videos because they held so much information and helped him understand what what was going on. Thank you so much for representing us!!!Deborah Tompkins
I highly recommend Jason Perkins and the Team at Perkins and Studdard. Jason did a wonderful job on my case and actually got me better results than what I was hoping for. He was always so patient with me and made sure I was understanding every process in my case. He never seemed to mind me asking questions and always gave me straightforward answers. My phone calls to him or his staff were promptly answered or returned and everyone was always so helpful, personable, and respectful. He kept me updated on all the details of my case and sent helpful videos for me to review that were very informative.Dru Vaughn

Related Posts


Font Size: