WASHINGTON – On Jan. 13, the 120th anniversary of Korean American Day, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, reintroduced the Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue for Relief (VALOR) Act, bipartisan legislation that would create a pathway for Korean American Vietnam veteransto access VA healthcare.
Takano introduced the legislation with Reps. Young Kim (R-Placentia), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), and Judy Chu (D-Pasadena).
“Today, on the 120th anniversary of Korean American Day, I am reintroducing the Korean American VALOR Act to ensure that the Korean American Vietnam veterans who fought alongside American forces can get the VA healthcare that they deserve,” said Takano. “3,000 Korean American veterans have long been denied the healthcare benefits they earned. This bipartisan legislation would provide a pathway for these veterans to receive the same VA healthcare that we provide to our allies who served alongside us in World War I and World War II.”
The legislation would amend Title 38 of the U.S. Code to allow the VA secretary to enter into a reciprocal agreement with the Republic of Korea to grant access to healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs to individuals who served as allies to the U.S. in the Vietnam War under the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.
Approximately 3,000 Korean American Vietnam veterans are naturalized citizens – and the number of surviving veterans continues to dwindle. Despite serving as wartime allies during the Vietnam War, these naturalized veterans do not have access to VA healthcare, unlike U.S. allies in World War I and World War II. Many of these veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, total disability, and the effects of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.
The VALOR Act would provide a viable pathway to grant these veterans access to hospital and domiciliary care and medical services through the VA. To be eligible for these benefits, veterans must have served during the period beginning on Jan. 9, 1962, ending on May 7, 1975, and became a U.S. citizen on or after such service.