Bill Would Make It Easier For Veterans To Get Treated For Toxic Substance Exposure

Military burn pits are some of the most dangerous places for veterans.  These pits are used to dispose of toxic chemical waste by means of open-air burning.  Veterans, especially those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, routinely become very ill after exposure to these pits.  Current law makes it difficult for them to get treatment for the diseases they suffer as a result.  But now, proposed legislation may make it easier for them to get the help they need.  If you served our country and were exposed to toxic waste, you may be able to claim veterans benefits.  Turn to a New Orleans veterans benefits attorney for help with your claim.

The military has long denied or shifted blame for exposing veterans to toxic chemicals and making them sick.  In the past, the military has claimed more research was needed to determine if they are responsible.  A burn pit registry was also established.  However, the government refused to acknowledge that veterans were becoming ill due to their service.

Veterans have to prove that exposure to toxic chemicals is responsible for making them sick.  As with any veteran disability claim, establishing that service connection is critical.  Up until now, the burden of proof has been on veterans.  North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis recently introduced legislation that would change this.  The Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act of 2020 would shift the burden of proof to the VA.  It would have to provide overwhelming evidence that toxic exposure didn’t sicken the veteran.

Veterans have suffered severe health and other consequences as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals.  Retired Army Capt. Le Roy Torres is one such victim.  He inhaled toxic trash smoke particles during his service in Iraq.  He developed lung disease that followed him home and cost his job as a Texas state trooper.  The VA denied his claim for disability benefits as his home neared foreclosure.  Then, Torres nearly took his own life.

Torres and other veterans are asking the VA to cover their care and make their claims easier to process.  The TEAM Act, one of many being considered by Congress, may help.  In the meantime, veterans exposed to toxic chemicals still need financial assistance with their diseases and conditions.  But burn pits are not the only culprit.  Other types of toxic chemical and substance exposure include:

  • Asbestos, from exposure to chemicals in older buildings, shipyards, mines, and other sources:
  • Water contamination, including a well-known case at Camp Lejeune
  • Various Gulf War illnesses
  • Radiation exposure
  • Mustard gas
  • Agent Orange

There are some toxic exposure cases which are easier than others for veterans to pursue benefits.  One example is if you served in Vietnam and got sick from Agent Orange exposure.  In that case, the VA presumes your exposure to toxic chemicals made you ill.  But other cases of veteran disability, like those caused by burn pits, still pose challenges.

No matter what type of illness you’re suffering, or the cause, our New Orleans veterans disability attorneys want to help.  We can work with your through the complicated process of filing a veterans disability claim.  If your application for benefits was wrongfully denied, we can help you appeal the decision.  Depending on the facts in your case, you may be eligible for covered treatments as well as monetary benefits.


Our New Orleans veterans disability benefits attorneys are keeping track of proposed legislation like the TEAM Act.  Regardless of what happens with the bill, we’re ready to help disabled and sick veterans get the compensation they deserve.  Count on Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC, to demand the maximum benefits allowed under law.  Give us a call today to explore your legal options.

Source: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article244749952.html

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