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  1. Active duty son trying to get some advice on how to handle my dad’s VA claim. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions on how to proceed. My dad who is 78 years old is a Navy veteran of 23 years and served in Vietnam. He was stationed on the USS Kawishiwi (AO 146), which is a Navy ship on the VA’s “brown water” list (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp). My dad filed a VA Claim in 2003 for several diseases related to Agent Orange to include Type II diabetes, Heart Disease (had quadruple bypass, angioplasty, and splints done), Hypertension, various skin conditions, Gall Bladder and Liver conditions. The documentation that VA acknowledge receiving for this claim included his VA Form 21-526, VA Form 21-4142, Copy of his DD214, VA Form 21-22, and copies of medical records from MTF (Portsmouth Naval) and various civilian doctors. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the decision letter for this claim but I know he was denied the claim as these medical issues on his EBenefits “Disabilities” page have these medical issues being “Not Service Connected” My question is shouldn’t at least some of the issues be defaulted as “Service Connected” due to Agent Orange exposure as a “brown water” veteran? Most of the research I’ve done state that a Vietnam Veteran who have any of the diseases (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/) and can prove that they were in Vietnam as either “boots on the ground” or “brown water” should receive VA compensation. If this is the case why was my dad denied his claim? So again I’m looking for advice on how to proceed. 1. Do I file a new VA Claim for my dad’s diseases related to Agent Orange? 2. If I file a new VA Claim what will the date be for his benefits? Will it be the date of this new claim or can they revert back to the original claim date from 2003? 3. Should I not open a new claim and try to reopen the original 2003 claim? Note: My dad is already receiving 40% disability for hearing loss and tinnitus. I wish I could have been more on top of this for my dad but I haven’t lived in the same area as him for 18 years and its difficult trying to stay on top of things. I was home visiting for Thanksgiving and spent some time going through his documents and wanted to see what I can do. I’m now committed to working this through resolution. My dad is a hard worker who worked 2-3 jobs most of his life to support his family. I would love to see him get these benefits that he deserves.
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