If you served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan during Operations New Dawn/Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom, or on the Horn of Africa on or after September 11, 2001, you may have been exposed to burn pits.
These large, open-air burn pits released toxins into the air that research has suggested could cause or contribute to certain medical conditions. Because this research is so limited, receiving a grant for veterans (VA) disability for burn pits can be difficult.
However, a skilled VA disability attorney can help. The attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD have dedicated our careers to helping veterans just like you recover disability benefits. We can put our experience to work for you.
Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.
What are burn pits?
Burn pits are huge fire pits the military used to dispose of waste at military sites. Two of the most common places for their use were Afghanistan and Iraq in the post-9/11 era. Some common waste products burned at these sites include paint, chemicals, human waste, metal, aluminum, rubber, plastic, and discarded food.
Because of their open-air setup, burn pits potentially facilitated the spread of airborne pollutants and carcinogens. Compounded with the already high levels of dust and pollutants in the air, exposure to burn pits, in the view of some health experts, can lead to respiratory, cardiovascular, skin, and other medical conditions.
How can I receive a disability grant after burn pit exposure?
If you served in a burn pit area and later received a diagnosis of a certain medical condition, we can work to tie your military service to your condition and win VA disability compensation. Many veterans have developed the following conditions after burn pit exposure:
- Skin conditions
- Respiratory and cardiovascular conditions
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Medical conditions affecting internal organs
- Various types of cancer including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lung, and brain cancer
Winning VA compensation for one of the above or another condition that resulted from burn pit exposure requires us to complete several steps. They are as follows:
Proving You Have a Medical Condition
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires a current diagnosis of a medical condition before it grants disability benefits. Moreover, it can be strict about the type of diagnosis that qualifies. For many conditions, the diagnosis must be from a certain type of doctor or medical professional and meet certain criteria. Our team will make sure that the proper medical documentation is submitted to the VA in support of your claim.
Establishing Service Connection for Your Condition
The VA only grants disability compensation for medical conditions that have an established service connection. Establishing a service connection means we must offer strong evidence that something that occurred during your military service caused or contributed to your condition.
In the case of burn pits, we can establish exposure by pointing out in your military record where you served in an affected area. However, as of 2017, the VA has not acknowledged a definitive link between burn pit exposure and any medical conditions. Thus, we work to obtain even more specific evidence of a service event that triggered your condition.
Creating a Nexus Between Your Diagnosis and Burn Pits
By consulting with doctors and medical professionals, and reviewing scientific literature, we can provide a compelling link between your military service, including your exposure to burn pits, and your diagnosed medical condition. This is the final step to convincing the VA that your condition qualifies for benefits.
How much can I receive in monthly benefits?
When the VA approves your claim, it assigns you a disability rating based on the severity of your condition. If you have multiple service-connected disabilities, the VA will determine your total combined disability rating. This number is between 0 and 100 percent in increments of 10 percent. The higher your rating, the greater your monthly compensation. As of 2017, VA disability benefits amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $133.57 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $264.02 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $408.97 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $589.12 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $838.64 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,062.27 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,338.71 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,556.13 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $1,748.71 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $2,915.55 per month
Because the array of conditions that might result from burn pit exposure is so broad, it is impossible to estimate where your condition might lie on the rating scale without a consultation.
Call a VA disability attorney today.
If you were exposed to burn pits during your military service and now suffer from a medical condition, the attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you apply for benefits. One of our main areas of focus is VA disability and we will pursue your case aggressively. Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.