Skip to Content
Your browser is out of date. To use this website, please update your browser or use a different device.
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Agent Orange exposure on Navy or Coast Guard ships

Did you serve on a Blue Water Navy vessel offshore of the Republic of Vietnam, or on another U.S. Navy or Coast Guard ship operating in the coastal waterways of Vietnam, between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975?

If yes, you may have had contact with Agent Orange, an herbicide used to clear trees and plants during the war. We refer to this as a presumption of contact. Find out if you can get disability compensation and other benefits for illnesses we believe are caused by Agent Orange.

Blue Water Navy Veterans and Agent Orange

Blue Water Navy Veterans are now entitled to a presumption of service connection for illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure. This is a result of Public Law 116-23, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. The law was signed on June 25, 2019, and takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Read below to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to file a claim. If we denied your claim in the past, you can file a new claim based on this change in law.

Can I get disability benefits from VA?

You may be able to get disability benefits if the below descriptions are true for you.

This must be true:

  • You have an illness we believe is caused by Agent Orange (called a presumptive disease)

And at least one of these must also be true. Your military record must show that between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, you:

  • Were aboard a U.S. military vessel that operated in the inland waterways of Vietnam, or
  • Served on a vessel not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia (as detailed in Public Law 116-23, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019)

Review our list of diseases related to Agent Orange


Who’s covered?

  • Veterans
  • Qualified dependents

What kind of benefits can I get?


How do I get these benefits?

You’ll need to file a claim for disability compensation and submit your evidence (supporting documents).

If you have an illness we believe is caused by Agent Orange

You won’t need to show that the problem started during—or got worse because of—your military service. This is because we believe that certain diseases are the result of exposure to herbicides. We refer to these as presumptive diseases.

Review our list of diseases related to Agent Orange

  • When you file your claim, you'll need to submit:
    • A medical record that shows you have an Agent Orange‒related illness
    And you'll need to submit a military record that shows you either:
    • Were aboard one of the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard ships that entered the inland waterways, or
    • Served in the Republic of Vietnam for any length of time between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. This may include serving aboard a vessel on the inland waterways, or on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia (as detailed in Public Law 116-23, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019).
    Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

If you have an illness that’s not on the list of Agent Orange‒related diseases, but you believe was caused by Agent Orange

You’ll need to:

  • Provide scientific and medical evidence that the condition is related to exposure to Agent Orange, or
  • Show that the problem started during—or got worse because of—your military service

Scientific proof may include an article from a medical journal or a published research study.

  • When you file your claim, you'll need to submit a medical record that shows:
    • You have a current disability, and
    • There's a connection between Agent Orange exposure and your current disability
    And you'll need to submit a military record that shows you either:
    • Were aboard one of the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard ships that entered the inland waterways, or
    • Served in the Republic of Vietnam for any length of time between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. This may include serving aboard a vessel on the inland waterways, or on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia (as detailed in Public Law 116-23, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019).
    Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

What if I’m a Blue Water Navy Veteran, and VA denied my claim in the past?

If we denied your claim because we determined that your disability wasn’t caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, you can file a new claim based on the change in law.

In certain cases, if we approve your claim, we’ll pay you back to the date when you submitted your original claim. We refer to this as retroactive payment.

Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

If you have more questions about this change in law, please read our fact sheet on Blue Water Navy Veterans and Agent Orange (PDF).

What if I need help filing my claim?

You can get help from us in one of these ways: