Veterans who suffer from medical conditions following exposure to toxic burn pit hazards and chemicals received support from President Biden last night. President's State of the Union Address included strong presidential support for health care benefits and wartime disability compensation. A burn pit is used to burn solid waste in open-air without equipment.
Pending legislation in the US Senate (S.473)
Specifically, the bill covers the following locations and corresponding time periods:
- Iraq between August 2, 1990, and February 28, 1991, as well as from March 19, 2003, until burn pits are no longer used in this location;
- Southwest Asia (including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar) from August 2, 1990, until burn pits are no longer used in these locations; and
- Afghanistan, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and Djibouti from September 11, 2001, until burn pits are no longer used in these locations.
Under the bill, if an exposed veteran submits insufficient evidence to establish a service connection for purposes of disability compensation, the VA shall provide a medical examination and request medical opinions regarding a causal link between the disability and a toxin, chemical, or hazard.
President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (State of The Union Address 3/2/22) Transcript
"Veterans are the best of us.
I’ve always believed that we have a sacred obligation to equip all those we send to war and care for them and their families when they come home.
My administration is providing assistance with job training and housing, and now helping lower-income veterans get VA care debt-free.
Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan faced many dangers.
One was stationed at bases and breathing in toxic smoke from “burn pits” that incinerated wastes of war—medical and hazard material, jet fuel, and more.
When they came home, many of the world’s fittest and best-trained warriors were never the same.
Headaches. Numbness. Dizziness.
A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin.
One of those soldiers was my son Major Beau Biden.
We don’t know for sure if a burn pit was the cause of his brain cancer, or the diseases of so many of our troops.
But I’m committed to finding out everything we can.
Committed to military families like Danielle Robinson from Ohio.
The widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson.
He was born a soldier. Army National Guard. Combat medic in Kosovo and Iraq.
Stationed near Baghdad, just yards from burn pits the size of football fields.
Heath’s widow Danielle is here with us tonight. They loved going to Ohio State football games. He loved building Legos with their daughter.
But cancer from prolonged exposure to burn pits ravaged Heath’s lungs and body.
Danielle says Heath was a fighter to the very end.
He didn’t know how to stop fighting, and neither did she.
Through her pain she found purpose to demand we do better.
Tonight, Danielle—we are.
The VA is pioneering new ways of linking toxic exposures to diseases, already helping more veterans get benefits.
And tonight, I’m announcing we’re expanding eligibility to veterans suffering from nine respiratory cancers.
I’m also calling on Congress: pass a law to make sure veterans devastated by toxic exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and comprehensive health care they deserve."
Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., President Biden Supports Burn Pits Exposure Benefits for Veterans, Workers' Compensation Blog, Mar. 2, 2022), https://workers-compensation.blogspot.com/2022/03/president-biden-supports-burn-pits.html
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Blog: Workers ' Compensation
LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters