Burn Pit, Veterans, Burn Pit Exposure

Burn Pit News: Important Expansion of Eligibility Agreement Reached!

Multiple members of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee announced last Wednesday that they’ve now reached an agreement on what would be an expansion of eligibility for health care and benefits for every Veteran exposed to burn pits and other harmful toxins.

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.,) the chair of the committee, and Jerry Moran of Kansas, a ranking Republican on the committee worked to introduce the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, or PACT, Act of 2022. 

The senators called this piece of legislation ‘historic’, and they said that the bill itself will actively work to supply long overdue health care services and benefits for all Veterans exposed to toxins. 

Burn Pit, Burn Pit News
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that some 3.5 million US service members were exposed to toxic smoke in Afghanistan, Iraq or other conflict zones, and more than 200,000 veterans have registered on lists of people who came into contact with burn pits.

Joint Statement on Burn Pit Exposure

In a joint statement, Tester and Moran said the following:  

“For far too long, our nation’s Veterans have been living with chronic illnesses as a result of exposures during their time in uniform. Today, we’re taking necessary steps to right this wrong with our proposal that’ll provide Veterans and their families with the health care and benefits they have earned and deserve.” 

The PACT Act will look to supply an easy path to health care and benefits for Veterans that served near open-air burn pits, which were used throughout the 1990’s and the post-9/11 period to burn garbage, jet fuel and other hazardous materials.

Veterans diagnosed with cancer, respiratory issues, and lung disease at young ages have blamed their unfortunate exposure to toxic fumes, but the Department of Veterans Affairs fought back for years, saying that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support their claims. 

This bill would also work to improve the VA’s workforce, health care facilities and claims processing to speed up efforts to meet the needs of our nation’s bravest men and women. 

Additionally, this bill would also expand health care eligibility to post-9/11 combat Veterans and would add 23 conditions that are related to burn pits and toxic exposures to the VA’s list of service presumptions. 

It will also strengthen federal research on toxic exposure, improve the VA’s resources and training and expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure to include the following locations: 

  • Thailand 

  • Cambodia 

  • Laos 

  • Guam 

  • American Samoa 

  • Johnston Atoll 

Burn Pit, Burn Pit News
Eighty-six percent of post-9/11 veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan say they were exposed to burn pits, according to a 2020 survey by the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
More Information on The Bill

The bill itself is named for Sgt., 1st Class Heath Robinson, who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder and lung cancer after serving with the Army National Guard in Kosovo and Iraq. Robinson sadly passed away in 2020 due to this prolonged burn pit exposure.

This past March, senators began negotiating a sweeping measure that was aimed at expanding eligibility for health care and benefits to millions of Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins. 

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee discussed the PACT Act, which passed through the House in early March, but had a challenging time with a Senate strategy to address the problem. 

The House PACT Act would increase spending by roughly $318B during the next decade, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The Senate’s first bill would come with a price tag of just about $1B.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough testified in March regarding two changes that his department wanted to make to the bill before it passed. One was to amend a section that he believes would inadvertently delay the process to approve presumptive conditions. When a condition is on the presumptive list, it means that the government acknowledges a Veteran’s military service caused the medical condition, and it lowers the amount of evidence that a Veteran needs to provide to receive the benefits that they deserve.

McDonough also wanted Congress to add a provision to the bill that would authorize 31 pending leases for VA medical facilities across the country. Under law, the VA must receive legislative approval for all leases on major medical facilities, but Congress has not authorized them on a regular basis. 

Comedian Uses Platform for Burn Pit Awareness

This past April, the organization Disabled American Veterans held a major news conference in Kentucky to put pressure on lawmakers to pass the PACT Act and have Veterans and their families come and share their stories on how toxic exposure affected them and their loved ones. Comedian Jon Stewart was not in attendance, but did speak via Zoom, here’s what he said: 

“It’s time that we recognize the toxic wounds, whether it’s Camp Lejeune, or whether it’s in Iraq or Afghanistan, or whether it’s in Vietnam, or whether it was in the Persian Gulf, war exposes soldiers to dangerous and deadly substances. And those substances may not manifest for years. A toxic wound is a wound that goes off. It’s an IED that goes off in your body seven years later, ten years later.” 

Follow Us On Social Media!

How Much Does It Cost To Hire You?

One Of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions.
It does not cost you anything to hire our Veterans Benefits Law Firm as your attorneys. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not owe us anything unless we win you an award. Our firm charges 20%, which is deducted by the VA from your lump sum payment for retroactive benefits.
Click Here To Sign Up Now!

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

If you, or someone you love, is having a tough time with the Department of Veterans Affairs and claiming the benefits needed to sustain a comfortable quality of life, do not wait another minute – contact us today! We are always available by phone at (866) 866-VETS.  

Our firm works on contingency, so there are no fees whatsoever unless we win your claim for benefits.  

We are accredited to stand for you anywhere within the United States, so even if you cannot make it to one of our many offices, we can still help you along the way. 

Once We've Received Your Submission, We Will Reach Out To You. Thanks!

Recent Blog Posts

View Our Office Locations Below!

All communication with the Department of Veterans Affairs can be conducted remotely; personal appearances are not required. 

Our law firm is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to handle appeals and we can do so anywhere across the United States. 

Furthermore, our clients do not need to go to a physical location and visit an office to receive our help. If there are any medical visits that are applicable to your claim, you can be seen at a facility that is close to your home. So, no matter where you are, if you need help, we’re here to fight for you the same way that you bravely fought to protect us. 

Call us now! (866) 866-VETS.