A couple of weeks ago, NPR revealed that the VA failed to compensate veterans that were exposed to mustard gas during World War II. The investigation further found that many veterans have been denied disability benefits because they did not have substantive evidence to prove mustard gas exposure. This week, NPR published a new piece suggesting that the Agent Orange Act may be able to help these veterans receive benefits for mustard gas exposure.
Back in the 1980’s, many Vietnam Veterans were denied benefits because they were unable to sufficiently prove exposure to Agent Orange because it was not officially recorded in personnel records. In 1991, after much lobbying, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act which required the VA to presume that any person that served in Vietnam during the war was exposed. This law allowed thousands of veterans to finally receive disability benefits for Agent Orange exposure. This NPR article suggests that Congress similarly may be able to pass an act that requires the VA to “presume” exposure in World War II veterans. If this is happens, many World War II veterans will finally be able to receive the disability benefits they deserve. This is an issue that CCK will continue to monitor.