Vets on Burn Pit Registry May Be At Risk For Virus!
This week, many Veterans advocates and lawmakers have been placing pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs, in an effort to make sure that any Veterans who were exposed to burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan are seeing an influx in outreach and in any services they may need, as now it seems they may be more at risk for life-threatening cases of COVID-19.
As of this past Tuesday, April 21st – there have been roughly 6,000 confirmed Veteran cases of COVID-19 and over 350 deaths in the VA hospitals.
Senators Leading the Charge
One time Presidential-hopeful Sen., Amy Klobuchar, and Sen., Mike Rounds, from South Dakota, penned a letter to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, pleading for his department to initiate a more proactive effort in terms of the care given to a Veteran who may, unfortunately, have a compromised respiratory system, as a direct result of their exposure to burn pits.
Klobuchar and Rounds asked for Secretary Wilkie to make sure that the department follows their COVID-19 response plan, which was designed to make sure that any Veterans with service-connected respiratory issues have the proper streamlined access that they may need to specific counseling services provided by their local Veterans Centers.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, we’re currently facing globally, most of these facilities have been instructed to handle their counseling via virtual conferencing – leaving lower-level facilities scrambling to accommodate their patients.
Here’s an excerpt for their letter:
“The VA estimates that over 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to burn pits, and over 200,000 veterans and service members have signed up for the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to date.
Given the significant number of at-risk veterans, it is critical that the VA prioritizes efforts to ensure that these brave men and women are able to safely receive care during the current public health crisis.”
Burn Pits: What You Need to Know
Burn pits were commonly used at military sites in both Afghanistan and Iraq to rid sites of common military and non-military waste.
Troops were unfortunately exposed to open-air waste disposal consisting of the following: burning chemicals, paint, medical & human waste, munitions, petroleum, plastic, rubber, wood, and discarded food.
The troops at these locations reportedly witnessed thick black smoke and a constant stream of dust near the largest of the pits. Sadly, the VA considers claims for these service-connected conditions on a case-by-case basis, as they believe that any irritation caused by a burn pit is “temporary and resolves once the exposure is gone.”
Claim Denied? Need Help? Schedule a Free Consultation Today!
Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is prepared to help veterans with benefits issues and to also pursue substantial relief for victims of various debilitating diseases or injuries, all of which are directly related to and in conjunction with prior military service.
If you or a loved one is in need of help, please call us today at (866) 866-VETS or contact us online for a free consultation. We take pride in being able to assist veterans all across the United States.