New Focus on Granting Respiratory Conditions Presumptive Link to Burn Pit Exposure

Jun 23, 2021

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 23, 2021 – Lawmakers and VA officials are pursuing new legislation and policy changes to grant almost every veteran who served in combat zones over the last thirty years presumptive benefits status for respiratory conditions linked to burn pit exposure. The True Cost of War Recognition Act (TCWR) was recently introduced in Congress. VA secretary Denis McDonough has also pledged to expedite the changes necessary to get sick veterans benefits for at least nine respiratory conditions.

“There has been strong evidence supporting a connection between burn pit exposure and subsequent development of respiratory diseases for years,” said James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan. “The men and women who are suffering from these conditions deserve not only full disability benefits from the VA but especially the validation of an officially recognized link between the burn pits they were exposed to and their health issues.”

Presumptive status allows veterans to qualify for disability benefits for the designated conditions by proving that they served in certain places during certain periods. Burn pits were used extensively in combat zones during Desert Storm and post-9/11 eras to dispose of toxic wastes like jet fuel, releasing dangerous fumes and smoke in the process. 

Those who served in the following regions and periods were potentially affected by burn pits:

* Iraq from August 1990 to March 1991 and from March 2003 until the present day
* Afghanistan from September 2001 until the present day
* Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar from August 1990 until the present day
* Djibouti, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen from September 2001 until the present day
* Any other area to be determined by a federal agency where burn pits were used by the military overseas.

The nine new respiratory conditions to be granted a presumptive link to burn pit exposure include:

* asthma
* chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
* chronic bronchitis
* constrictive bronchiolitis
* emphysema
* pleuritis
* pulmonary fibrosis
* interstitial lung disease
* sarcoidosis

Qualifying veterans diagnosed with any form of respiratory cancer or glioblastoma (brain cancer) would be granted presumptive benefits status.

The True Cost of War Recognition Act would address another longtime issue for veterans by adding hypertension to the list of presumptive caused by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War and extending presumptive status to Vietnam-era vets who served in other areas. The VA has been hesitant for many years to acknowledge a link between Agent Orange exposure and high blood pressure, despite studies showing a strong correlation between the two. 

Legal Help for Veterans is a VA disability claim law firm owned and operated by veterans. Visit for more information. 

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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