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Military Benefits

The VA Expands Its Disability List for Soldiers Exposed to Burn Pit Smoke


In April, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) added to its list of presumed service-connected disabilities nine respiratory cancers caused by burn pit exposure overseas.

The VA announced its decision on April 25, 2022, basing the determination on scientific and medical evidence. The policy includes all veterans who served in the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. 

Granting presumptive status to an illness avoids the requirement that the Veteran prove a connection to military service in order to be awarded VA disability compensation. Instead, the VA presumes the medical condition was caused by military service.

The issue of presumptive conditions for burn pit victims has been a priority in recent years because of the difficulty in proving a connection between health issues suffered by Veterans and exposure to fine particulate matter in toxic smoke at overseas bases.

Last August, the VA approved presumptive status for veterans suffering from three illnesses — asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis — related to burn pit exposure overseas.

Speak with one of our AAFMAA Member Benefits representatives about this topic and more by calling 888-973-8490.

For more information on the decision regarding airborne hazards and burn pit exposure, visit the VA website at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/index.asp.

Photo Credit

Official USMC photograph by Cpl. Samuel D. Corum

Sgt. Robert B. Brown from Fayetteville, N.C. with Regimental Combat Team 6, Combat Camera Unit watches over the civilian Fire Fighters at the burn pit as smoke and flames rise into the night sky behind him on May 25th, 2007.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.