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Burn Pit VA Disability Rating: Can I get VA Disability for toxic exposure? How to know if I’m eligible?

You can get a VA disability rating for burn pits exposure. However, you have to meet these specific requirements to be eligible.

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VA disability rating is tax-free monthly compensation provided by the government to veterans who developed health conditions due to exposure to burn pits or other specific hazards in the air, soil, or water, during their military service.

Burn pits were areas of land where the military incinerated plastic, rubber, medical, human, and other waste materials from military bases. While burn pits were an effective waste disposal method, they emitted plumes of toxic smoke that had a long-term health consequences.

Can I get VA Disability for toxic exposure?

Yes, you can get a VA disability rating for toxic exposure to burn pits.  This comes in the form of tax-free payments made to veterans monthly.

Examples of toxic exposures and environmental hazards that qualify you for a VA disability rating include:

  • A large sulfur fire at Mishraq State Sulfur Mine near Mosul, Iraq
  • Burn pits and other toxic exposures in Afghanistan, Iraq, and certain other areas.
  • Hexavalent chromium at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Basra, Iraq.
  • Pollutants from a waste incinerator near the Naval Air Facility at Atsugi, Japan.

 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for VA Disability Benefits

To qualify for VA disability benefits, you must meet ALL three of these requirements.

  • You must have a diagnosed health condition caused by exposure to a specific toxic hazard in the air, soil, or water.
  • You must have been exposed to the toxic hazard while serving on active duty.
  • You must not have received a dishonorable discharge

Health conditions that qualify you for a VA Disability Rating

To get a VA disability rating, your condition must be connected to burn pits or toxic exposure during your military service. While some health conditions can have a proven connection to burn pits, some cannot. These are called presumptive conditions—because it is assumed that your service causedd the disability.

A condition is considered presumptive when it’s established by law. Hence, for presumptive health conditions, you do not need to prove that your service caused your condition. You just have to meet the service requirements for the presumption.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 is the regulation that establishes a condition as presumptive.

Cancers that are considered presumptive

Brain cancer

Gastrointestinal cancer of any type

Glioblastoma

Head cancer of any type

Kidney cancer

Lymphoma of any type

Melanoma

Neck cancer of any type

Pancreatic cancer

Reproductive cancer of any type

Respiratory cancer of any type

Other illnesses that are considered presumptive

Asthma that was diagnosed after service

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic rhinitis

Chronic sinusitis

Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis

Emphysema

Granulomatous disease

Interstitial lung disease (ILD)

Pleuritis

Pulmonary fibrosis

Sarcoidosis

Service Locations with Presumption to Exposure

If you served in any of these locations within these time periods, you were likely exposed to burn pits or other toxins.

  • If you served in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen, or the airspace above any of these locations on or after September 11, 2001.
  • If you served in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), or the airspace above any of these locations on or after August 2, 1990.
  • If you served in Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Neutral zone between Iraq/Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf, or the Red Sea on or after August 2, 1990.

You can file a claim for disability compensation even if your condition or service location isn’t listed above. However, you’ll need to submit more evidence to show that your condition is connected to your service.

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