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NVLSP Launches Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program

Released 10/18/21 | Tags:

NVLSP Launches Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program


WASHINGTON – The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) today launched the Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program (Burn Pits CAP). This Program marks a major expansion of the free legal representation that NVLSP has provided to veterans and their survivors over the last 40 years.  The Burn Pits CAP will assist veterans exposed to toxic emissions from burn pits while serving overseas by representing them on claims for disability benefits before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Open air burn pits located near military bases were commonly used by the U.S. military departments in Southwest Asia to dispose of assorted waste and other matter.  The Department of Defense and the VA agree that the smoke and fumes emitted from these burn pits contained numerous toxic chemicals.  Over 240,000 veterans and service members have documented their exposure in the VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.  Despite its recognition that burn pits located on numerous military bases emitted toxic chemicals, the VA has thus far denied over 75% of the disability claims based on burn pit exposure. 

“The Burn Pit Claims Assistance Program is a natural extension of NVLSP’s legal expertise and tenacity in fighting for veterans and their families to ensure they receive the life-changing benefits they need and deserve,” said NVLSP Executive Director Paul Wright. 

NVLSP has a solid record of defending the rights of veterans with chronic illnesses due to their exposure during military service to toxic chemicals.  The most significant example is Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of all Vietnam veterans and their survivors who had been or would be denied VA benefits for conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange.  In this historic case, the federal court invalidated the VA Agent Orange compensation rule and approved a consent decree requiring VA to pay retroactive disability and death benefits.  As a result of the consent decree and four successful motions for enforcement, VA has been forced to pay over $4.6 billion in VA compensation benefits to Vietnam veterans and their survivors.  NVLSP’s work on behalf of the Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange underscores the organization’s ability to tackle the burn pits issue, often cited as the Agent Orange equivalent for post 9/11 veterans. 

To learn more about NVLSP Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program, go to https://www.nvlsp.org/what-we-do/burn-pits-claims-assistance-program/ .

NVLSP is also a steadfast advocate for legislation that would grant presumptive coverage for veterans with burn pits exposure. 

The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is an independent, nonprofit veterans service organization that has served active duty military personnel and veterans since 1981. NVLSP strives to ensure that our nation honors its commitment to its 22 million veterans and active duty personnel by ensuring they have the benefits they have earned through their service to our country. NVLSP has represented veterans in lawsuits that compelled enforcement of the law where the VA or other military services denied benefits to veterans in violation of the law. NVLSP’s success in these lawsuits has resulted in more than $5.2 billion dollars being awarded in disability, death and medical benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors. NVLSP offers training for attorneys and other advocates; connects veterans and active duty personnel with pro bono legal help when seeking disability benefits; publishes the nation's definitive guide on veteran benefits; and represents and litigates for veterans and their families before the VA, military discharge review agencies and federal courts. For more information go to www.nvlsp.org.
Media contact:
Patty Briotta, office 202-621-5698, patty@nvlsp.org

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