Yes, veterans facing burn pit exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan can get disability compensation.
The photo shown displays a brief moment shared with my daughter before my deployment to Iraq as a company commander.
Since returning from Iraq, some of my soldiers have developed diseases and disabilities associated with burn pit exposure. Many young people deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan have found themselves suffering from cancer upon their return home, forced to pay skyrocketing medical bills that place their families in dire financial straits.
In one example, I had an officer in my command who took good care of himself during deployment but upon return from Iraq was diagnosed by the VA as having exercise-induced asthma. This didn’t make much sense because this officer had never been diagnosed with anything related to asthma or breathing disorders.
Other soldiers I deployed with were diagnosed with other diseases and disabilities which may be related to burn pit exposure. This is becoming more and more common among service members stationed in the Middle East, as there is little in the way of regulation for these giant open-air waste-burning areas stoked by jet fuel and sometimes positioned within a few feet of staff quarters. The Department of Defense has failed to undertake adequate research efforts to fully understand the health risks of exposure.
While many people argue that burn pits are the OIF/OEF generation’s Agent Orange, veterans don’t have to wait for laws and regulations to get service-connected. Agent Orange service connection is presumptive for certain conditions. However, it is also important to note that people can get service-connected for Agent Orange without having the presumptive conditions.
In other words, soldiers subjected to burn pit exposure may or may not have diseases and disabilities associated to breathing in those toxic fumes and may have other diseases or disabilities. However, under the VA’s regulations, a soldier can still be service-connected even without a presumptive disability.
Have you developed disabilities or diseases from burn pit exposure overseas? Have you been been denied service connection or granted a low rating? If you need help appealing a claim, please contact the Berry Law today by clicking here or by calling us at (888) 883-2483 for a free consultation.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.