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  • C. Jenkins

VA Pushes Millions of Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits to File Claims

Andrew Myatt was deployed to Iraq after 9/11, and like many other veterans, when he returned home he struggled to receive the healthcare he deserves. After putting his life on the line in the Army and being late diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, the last thing he needed was to be denied coverage 3 times through the VA. Yet, this is the reality of so many veterans who were unknowingly exposed to toxins in open-air burn pits when they were deployed. Until the PACT Act was signed, many vets were unable to prove to the VA that their illnesses were linked to burn pit exposure. The law now takes that burden off of veterans and automatically connects sicknesses such as asthma and various cancers to exposure.


The VA has estimated four million veterans were exposed to burn pits in the last 30 years, yet only 66,000 of those claimed benefits and 1.4 million have been screened for toxic exposure since the legislation was signed.


Now months after the PACT Act was passed, VA Secretary McDonough is sending a message to veterans and urging those who may have been affected to file claims with the VA immediately.


Myatt said it is disheartening that so many members of the service have been exposed needlessly and have likely passed away due to this exposure. Shockingly, the Defense Department has yet to adopt policies banning open-air burn pits and it is tracking six of them in U.S. personnel countries.


While acknowledging the progress made by the PACT Act, Myatt was finally approved for coverage through the VA after the fourth claim was filed and his cancer was deemed a result of his deployments. Lastly, the VA is working on determining facility needs to provide care to potentially millions of more patients.


Burn pits are an issue that still needs to be addressed and as an important issue had brought to light, as well as the potential health risks to veterans. Thankfully, after years of denials, the government finally signed the PACT Act and it provides hope to veterans who are unsure of receiving coverage and being linked to the terrible toxins they were exposed to.


If you are a veteran and believe you have experienced negative health issues as a result of burn pit exposure, you can file a claim at VA.gov/PACT.

26 Comments


teapotlady
Apr 03

My husband is a Vet during Vietnam but as a toddler lived on Camp LeJune while his father was in music school (served Marine Corps for 35+ years). In 2019 my husband had his prostate removed due to cancer then in 2020 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He still had 4 yrs left to work at his new job when we got the diagnosis. We have had many many experiences in these past 3 yrs and have absolutely no more savings. Our sole income is social security. We filled a claim with DOJ, they are moving extremely slow. I received a notice that the claim was considered legitimate and gave us a claim number and that they would get …

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dlb1942
Mar 20

Yes, I am a Vietnam Veteran with Agent Orange Prostrate Cancer and am at 50%, Anybody know how to raise this up like most have??? dlb1942@gmail.com.

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mtj20041967
Feb 08

I am a desert storm desert shield veteran with a rating of 80 but being paid as 100% I am total and permanent they gave me 30% for asthma service connected so I went to file for the pact act, The representative at the VA told me not to apply for the pact act because I could lose my 100% rating, is that correct? Help me please

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Tommy Borges
Tommy Borges
Feb 28
Replying to

Totally agree...

when you file a new claim, your existing service-connection ratings-per each percentage... will be individualy questionable, in relation to your new disability claim and how it affects medical or mental health impairments.

The DBA has it's own protocols to follow. Not many has access.

Your current rating is not broken, you're in a good place.... it's a mental journey if you choose to do it on your own..if there is a service officer involved would be the contactable source.

Do you have a copy of your military records? I mean from taking your oath to being inducted into militay service. I would recommend to all who served in the miliatry when you leave military service send for a…

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David Tasler
David Tasler
Feb 08

I was exposed to depleted uranium and the burn pits and I was told to fill out a bunch of paperwork and send it back and they would set me up with a schedule of doctors visits to determine if I was eligible or not.

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Terry Kennedy
Terry Kennedy
Feb 07

What BS. Lots of vets are giving up. I filled my PACT claim in 12/22, have been through 13 VA medical exams, and have still to receive a decision. The bureaucracy in the VA is unbelievable, and what they fail to realize is every day your waiting for a decision the veteran is the one dealing with medical expenses required just to stay alive. If after 4 or 5 years and multiple appeals you approved you NEVER recover that cost, which bankrupts many veterans. Pathetic!

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ador encarnacion
ador encarnacion
Feb 23
Replying to

The rerason is, Biden diverted the funds for Veys to Illegal immigrants. Lots of Vets still waiting for their payment , a friend of mine has been waiting since September 2023, unfortunately Biden send the funds for illegals and Ukraine.

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