Last year, the U.S. government passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act, more commonly referenced as the PACT Act. Among other outcomes, the PACT Act expanded the list of presumptive conditions and illnesses that will enable certain veterans to obtain VA disability benefits easier than others. These veterans include those who served during Operation Desert Storm and the War on Terror.
Veterans of the Middle East Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits
As a veteran who served in the Middle East during the 1990s or who served after September 11, 2001, you may have been exposed to toxins emitted by burn pits. Burn pits were essentially areas where service members would burn trash while stationed overseas. Burn pits were used extensively in the Middle East; hence, veterans of these two operations are benefited most by the PACT Act.
The trash that would be burned in these pits included chemicals, paint, biological waste, and other toxic or other harmful substances. The fires in the burn pits would not get hot enough to safely incinerate the refuse in the pit. Instead, smoke and fumes from these dangerous substances would become airborne and could be ingested or inhaled by nearby service members.
What the PACT Act Does for Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits
Under the PACT Act, the VA now recognizes that veterans who served in places like Iraq or Kuwait after August 2, 1990, or who served in Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Egypt, among others, on or after September 11, 2001 were likely exposed to these burn pits and the toxic fumes they emitted.
As a result, the VA now recognizes and presumes that veterans of these military operations who develop certain conditions likely developed such conditions because of burn pit toxin exposure. Some of the presumptive conditions include brain cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other types of cancer.
Affected veterans do not need to show a service connection to obtain benefits. Simply establishing that a veteran has a qualifying condition and that they served in a qualifying location is enough for that veteran to be presumed to have a service-related condition and be entitled to benefits. This is a shorter process than the normal VA disability process, designed to result in a faster payout.
Problems with Your VA Disability Claim? Call Veterans Law Attorneys Today
Just because certain conditions are presumed to entitle you to VA disability benefits does not mean it always happens. If you were exposed to toxins in burn pits but still had your VA disability claim denied, let Veterans Law Attorneys come alongside you and help. We will uncover the reason why your claim was denied and work speedily to get you the benefits you fought hard to obtain.
Contact Veterans Law Attorneys today online if we can be of assistance to you or your loved one. You may also reach us at (866) 894-9773.