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VA to host telephone town hall on benefits this Friday

Department of Veterans Affairs (Ed Schipul/Flickr)

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) undersecretary for benefits will host a telephone town hall 4 p.m. May 15, 2020, for any veterans who have questions or concerns about VA benefits.

Veterans Benefits Administration Undersecretary for Benefits Paul Lawrence will visit by telephone with veterans, family members and concerned citizens on topics including the VA’s COVID-19 response, support for Blue Water Navy sailors and the VA’s Solid Start initiative.

Blue Water Navy

Blue Water Navy sailors are those who served aboard ships off the coast of Vietnam, but not ashore or inland, while the United States was using the herbicide Agent Orange during the war.

During a 10-year period of the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, U.S. forces sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The most common herbicide was known as Agent Orange, and it contained the chemical dioxin, which would later be discovered to cause a wide variety of cancers, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy and Type-2 diabetes.

The Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 extended the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.

Beginning Jan. 1, veterans who served as far as 12 nautical miles from the shore of Vietnam, or who had service in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, such as Agent Orange, and may be entitled to service connection for any of the 14 conditions related to herbicide exposure, according to the VA.

For more information, visit

Solid Start

Solid Start is a VA initiative to contact veterans at least three times within the first year after their separation from active duty, to make sure they have access to any benefits or transition assistance programs to which they’re entitled.

For more information on Solid Start visit

Attend the telephone town hall

To attend the telephone town hall meeting call (844) 227-7557 and follow prompts on the call.


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