NHL Documentation


My husband served on the USS America from 1979-1983 and in also reserves. He did cleaning and maintenance on communication and plotting systems as an IC2 and IC3. He was also a fireman and worked in damage control. He was diagnosed with NHL in 2014. In 2015, 10 days before our youngest son's 16th birthday, my husband passed away. I promised him I'd keep fighting for him.

The original VA claim was denied. After years of backlog, the appeal is finally coming up. I'm trying to find documentation that shows or names the chemicals used to de-grease and or clean parts and machines. We know TCE and Benzene can cause NHL. The burden of proof is on me to prove he used/was exposed to these chemicals. Are there handbooks or training manuals anywhere for that time period? I truly appreciate any help or direction you can give me.

Jim's Reply:

When I seek the sort of documentation you're looking for, I use the same resource that's available to you...Google search. I don't have any documentation that isn't already available to you so I can't help you there.

Where I can help you is to point out that when you go it alone, without a skilled and experienced veterans law attorney to help you...you're probably going to lose your claim. Statistics of appeals at the BVA are very clear that veterans law attorneys win cases a lot more often then any other representation and as much as 30% more than when the veteran or survivor takes on the government without help.

I agree with your conclusion that your late husband was exposed to all kinds of chemicals and that is more likely than not the cause of his early death and yes, all that should be service connected. However, when we take on the VA we're up against an army of their employed doctors and lawyers who are well compensated to argue that his death was unfortunate but not caused by all those chemicals.

Not only do you need a lawyer who can guide you through the convoluted VA appeals process, you'll need the Independent Medical Opinion of an experienced and skilled physician who will offer evidence that there is a link between chemical exposure and cancer. 

Please take a moment to click through the provided links and talk with a pro...that won't cost you anything but a little time. Good luck.