Is Progress on Burn Pits and Presumptive Conditions on the Horizon?Thursday, December 16, 2021
Denis McDonough, the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, said that the agency will renew a focus on evaluating presumptive conditions related to exposure to toxins during military service. This includes certain cancers as well as other conditions.
McDonough made statements during a press conference on November 18th that outlined a new model for determining presumptive conditions. He called the old way of doing things “a restrictive process that focused primarily on data from the National Academy of Sciences.” The new model will focus on learning more from veterans about their individual experiences.
On this new path, McDonough alleged that the VA would have answers on certain cancers and constrictive bronchiolitis by the end of 2022.
Recently, the VA began providing presumptive benefits for asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis. Since they began, the VA has delivered more than $14 million in benefits to over 4,500 veterans and survivors. Any change to the determination process of presumptive benefits could have an enormous impact on many affected by conditions related to exposure to toxins.
McDonough has also made promises regarding the VA’s response to homelessness across the country. The VA has accomplished its goal of getting all 40 veterans living in a homeless encampment in LA into housing. Additionally, the VA aims to get an additional 500 homeless vets into homes by the year’s end.
Many of the initiatives outlined by McDonough in his burn pit press conference, as well as those related to homelessness among veterans, are primarily impacted by the VA’s budget. In this regard, he has expressed concerns over whether Congress will pass a full-year budget for the VA in the next few months.
The Biden Administration has proposed a $30 billion increase for fiscal year 2022. The progress of the future budget decisions will impact McDonough’s goals significantly as we head into the new year.
Have questions pertaining to benefits eligibility after suffering from illness as a result of exposure to burn pits? Our New York disability lawyers are proud to assist veterans with benefits claims. Call us at 855-208-7783 or complete an online intake form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation today. We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.