The Department of Veteran Affairs will begin to implement provisions of the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. This adds three conditions to the list of known ailments due to Agent Orange exposure. The newly added health conditions are hypothyroidism, bladder cancer, and parkinsonism.
The VA will apply these provisions, which could result in earlier dates for entitlement to benefits for Veterans who served during the Vietnam War. Vietnam war vets, who were previously denied after filing for benefits for these conditions, will have their claims automatically reviewed without needing to refile. The VA will be sending letters to the impacted survivors.
The VA secretary also concluded the iteration of a VA process to review scientific evidence when it comes to making decisions. Their role is to address that particulate matter pollution does play a role in generating respiratory diseases, including sinusitis, asthma, and rhinitis. These respiratory conditions are being added to the list of other chronic diseases and disabilities that are associated with military service in Afghanistan, SW Asia, and Uzbekistan.
Va plans to take more serious approaches when it comes to determining toxic exposures in areas with periods of conflict.