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Politics and Cost Wrongly Influence VA Decisions on Agent Orange Vet Benefits

Released 6/17/16 at All Government | Tags: Agent Orange, Veteran's Benefits

Last year, a group of federal scientists was debating whether as many as 2,100 Air Force veterans should qualify for cash benefits for ailments they claimed stemmed from flying aircraft contaminated by Agent Orange. An outside panel of experts had already determined that the scientific evidence showed the vets were likely exposed to the toxic herbicide. The scientists within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs agreed the airmen had a strong case. But they had a more calculated concern: If the VA doled out cash to these veterans, others might want it too, according to an internal document obtained by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot. Bart Stichman, co-executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, which has tangled with the VA in court on numerous Agent Orange-related issues, comments in the story.

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