The Gulf War Burn Pit Registry: Are You Covered?

The Gulf War Burn Pit Registry: Are You Covered?

The Gulf War ended several decades ago, but its ramifications still affect many of its Veterans. While Gulf War Veterans suffered injuries or illnesses easy to connect to their military duties, others have lived with respiratory or other conditions due to burn pit exposure.

During the Gulf War, open-air burn pits were used frequently to remove waste near military sites. However, these lead to unintended medical consequences for many Veterans. Even today, it can be tough for those Veterans to know whether they qualify for disability benefits due to exposure to Gulf War burn pits.

Today, we will break down the Gulf War Burn Pit Registry in detail. We’ll also explore who’s covered for burn pit exposure and related conditions.

The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AHOBPR) Explained

The Gulf War Burn Pit Registry, also called the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry or AHOBPR, is a special registry designed to help Veterans find resources and information about their conditions related to burn pit exposure.

Burn pits were a common feature throughout the Gulf War and many operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past few decades. As a result, some Veterans have developed service-related illnesses or injuries due to burn pit exposure.

Burn pits included burning:

  • Plastics and rubber
  • Aluminum cans
  • Medical and human waste
  • Various harmful chemicals
  • And more

Once burned, toxic compounds enter the air. In turn, Veterans, especially those near the burn pits, would inhale these toxic compounds. Burn pits were especially hazardous to service personnel stationed near or around burn pits, including those who spent a lot of time around burn pits due to duty postings.

The AHOBPR is a registry that:

  • Intends to connect Veterans suffering from burn pit exposure to resources they need to acquire benefits
  • Gathers information to help medical experts understand the long-term effects of burn pit exposure

The AHOBPR is also important because it has information about who qualifies for certain VA-related benefits. The AHOBPR is a good organization to join if you suspect you have one or more service-related conditions because of your time spent near burn pits.

What Are the Benefits of Joining the Registry?

When you join the AHOBPR, you may benefit from several important factors.

Information About Hazards and Conditions

The AHOBPR includes a wealth of information about the potential hazards and side effects associated with burn pit exposure. 

In particular, the AHOBPR can tell you:

  • What you might have been exposed to if you were stationed around burn pits in the Gulf War
  • What conditions those exposure events may lead to
  • What symptoms you should look for if you suspect you were exposed to burn pit toxins
  • And more

All of this can be very informational and helpful if you have lived with one or more conditions for several years but have never been able to put a name to those conditions.

For many Veterans, information is all they need to file a successful benefits claim and start receiving the disability benefits they deserve for their service.

Resources for Benefits Seeking

Speaking of benefits, the AHOBPR can help you seek out the right resources to file a disability benefits application, like knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys. Many Veterans don’t know where to start in terms of legal recourse. The AHOBPR can help with this point and many others.

Connection to Other Veterans

Perhaps more than anything else, the AHOBPR is a close-knit organization that allows Veterans to connect with one another. It’s tough to explain the symptoms or feelings associated with burn pit exposure. When you join the AHOBPR, you may connect with Veterans who know exactly what you went through and who suffer from the same conditions or illnesses that you do.

Accelerate Medical Knowledge

Most importantly, the AHOBPR is a community resource that grows more knowledgeable and important each year. By joining the AHOBPR and reporting your symptoms and where you were stationed, you allow other Veterans to benefit from the same resource pool.

The AHOBPR is only useful if more Veterans continue to join it regularly. Therefore, it’s a good idea to join the AHOBPR purely to ensure that medical advancements come as quickly as possible. The more information medical experts know about burn pit exposure in the Gulf War, the faster they can develop treatments.   

Which Veterans Qualify for Compensation Due to Burn Pit Exposure?

To qualify for disability benefits due to burn pit exposure from the Gulf War specifically, Veterans must have served in the Gulf War after August 2, 1990. However, other Veterans may also qualify for disability benefits from burn pit exposure during the Iraq war and other military operations.

The relevant dates include:

  • Having served in Afghanistan or Djibouti, Africa, after September 11, 2001
  • Having served in Syria or Pakistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001, to the present
  • Having served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present

These groups include a vast majority of service personnel who participated in those operations. Furthermore, to qualify for disability benefits due to burn pit exposure, you must have served in or around burn pit waste removal sites during your active service.

For example, it’s not enough to simply have served in the Gulf War. You must also have been stationed at a military site with a burn pit. Your military records should have a list of all the bases or locations you were stationed at. You can use resources from the AHOBPR to discover whether a burn pit was at any of your previous postings. 

Presumptive Conditions

Recently, the VA allowed three medical conditions to be listed as “presumptive conditions” for the purposes of disability benefits. These include asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. If you have experienced any of the symptoms of these conditions, you might qualify for disability benefits automatically since they are listed as presumptive for Veterans exposed to burn pit toxins.

Put simply — it means you may have an easier time receiving benefits for one of the above three conditions. However, many Veterans suffer from other conditions or chronic illnesses due to burn pit toxin exposure. So, even if you don’t have asthma, rhinitis, or sinusitis, don’t give up.

Knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys can help you establish a link between your current illness or injuries and your time spent around burn pits. In addition, upcoming legislation will likely expand the presumptive conditions list for burn pit exposure. The fight for further Veterans’ benefits is always ongoing.

Burn Pit Rapid Assessment

If you’re still unsure whether you qualify for burn pit benefits, it might be a good idea to take the Burn Pit Rapid Assessment. This quiz can help you determine whether burn pits and airborne hazards were related to your military service. It’s a good way to jog your memory if you aren’t fully sure whether airborne hazards contributed to your current illnesses or conditions.

Does Joining the AHOBPR Prevent You From Receiving Benefits?

Not at all. If and when you join the AHOBPR, you can still apply for disability benefits (including for secondary conditions) and even receive total disability if you qualify. All the AHOBPR does is grow the knowledge pool that the VA and medical organizations use to pursue relevant medical advancements.

There’s no reason not to join the AHOBPR if you suspect that any part of your condition or illness is due to burn pit toxin exposure. You deserve to be compensated for your service and for being exposed to hazardous toxins that still affect your day-to-day life.

Contact Berry Law Today

At the end of the day, it’s always tough to tell whether you qualify for benefits from the VA. But if you were exposed to burn pit hazards, you might be eligible for significant benefits to cover the cost of medical bills associated with your condition(s).

When maximizing your benefits, you should turn to Berry Law right away. We’re experienced Veterans law attorneys and can help you not only file a successful benefits claim for your condition but also proceed smoothly through the appeals process and overturn a claim denial if you have legitimate grounds.

Furthermore, we can provide you with more information about the Gulf War Burn Pit Registry if you are interested. Contact us today for more information and a free case evaluation.


10 Things to Know About Burn Pits | VA 

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Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures | Public Health

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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