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Navy veterans who served during the Vietnam War may be eligible for disability benefits

Pearl River County residents who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War may want to schedule an appointment with the local Veteran’s Affairs office in Millard.

Cindy Smith, Veteran’s Affairs officer for Pearl River County, said that the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act signed into law earlier this week gives expanded access to disability benefits for medical conditions that may have been the result of exposure to Agent Orange during their service.

The law, H.R. 299, provides that coverage to any person who served in the Navy between Jan. 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975 and came within 12 nautical miles of the coast of Vietnam.

Smith said that any Pearl River County veteran who thinks they may qualify for this additional benefit should make an appointment with her office. While she does take walk-ins, she suggests making an appointment because she sees more than 400 veterans monthly and having a predetermined time slot will prevent them from having a long wait or coming to the office when she is out.

In some cases, Smith said she can assist a veteran with applying for benefits over the phone.

Veterans who think they are eligible for benefits can contact Smith at 601-403-2558.