JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — (The video above is from a related story on April 29, 2019)
Veterans exposed to toxic burn pits will for the first time get presumptive disability benefits status for some illnesses related to their exposure from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
While on active duty, the VA says some military service members were exposed to a variety of airborne hazards including smoke and fumes from open burn pits which may have led to health conditions.
Now, some of those veterans are eligible for presumptive status for disability benefits.
As of right now, the benefits will cover only veterans who are suffering from asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis. In order to qualify for benefits, the veteran must have gotten one of these conditions within 10 years of separation from active service.
The VA says this will expand benefits for Veterans who served in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present.
"Researchers, including experts at VA, are actively studying airborne hazards like burn pits and other military environmental exposures," says the VA on its website. "Ongoing research will help us better understand potential long-term health effects and provide you with better care and services."
Click here for more information about presumptive disability benefits for veterans exposed.
First Coast News has previously reported on ongoing legislation and adverse health effects caused as a result of burn pits. You can find an extensive article on the topic in the article below.