Request Line: (870) 277-1080 [email protected]
Text Your Gift to KLEK1 to 44-321 LEARN MORE

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

Boozman Urges Action to Help Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange During Service in Thailand

Written by Press Release

September 25, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee, urged his colleagues to pass legislation he introduced to eliminate barriers to benefits for veterans who served in Thailand during Vietnam and were exposed to toxic chemicals.  

“I believe veterans have been left behind by the current limitations on the presumption of toxic exposure to Agent Orange,” Boozman said.

The VA currently awards service-connected benefits for exposure to toxic chemicals to veterans whose duties placed them on or near the perimeters of Thai military bases from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. This restriction arbitrarily disqualifies veterans who may otherwise be able to prove their exposure, regardless of their assigned duties during their time stationed in Thailand. 

“It was an Arkansas veteran, Bill Rhodes, who first brought this policy inequity to my attention,” Boozman said during the committee hearing examining the VA’s decision-making process when determining eligibility for benefits for veterans whose illnesses were caused by exposure to toxic hazards while on active duty.

Rhodes, of Mena, Arkansas, served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He filed claims with the VA after developing illnesses linked to herbicide exposure. His claims were denied because the location of his service is not covered under the VA’s current presumptions for exposure in Thailand. 

Boozman’s legislation would change that. 

Rhodes and other veterans who served in Thailand suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses sent letters in orange envelopes to Members of Congress this month urging passage of Boozman’s legislation that provides them an opportunity to prove toxic exposure in order to qualify for VA benefits.

“For my colleagues on the committee, most of you have probably received letters in bright orange envelopes,” Boozman said showing members a stack of envelopes he’s received. 

Boozman pressed VA officials on their policy of limiting benefits for Thailand service and the process for implementing changes. He encouraged them to identify trends of veterans filing claims because of toxic exposure.

During the hearing, VA representatives committed to working with Boozman on this issue and said the Department of Defense has provided updated information about Agent Orange use in new areas. The VA is looking at that data now to determine if changes should be made.  

Boozman’s legislation is cosponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV). 

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR).

Original article source: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/9/boozman-urges-action-to-help-veterans-exposed-to-agent-orange-during-service-in-thailand | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

0 0 vote
Article Rating

Related Articles

Boozman Urges HHS to Protect 340B Prescription Drug Pricing Program

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent pharmaceutical companies from undermining the 340B Drug Pricing Program and for the Read more

Boozman, Westerman Applaud $151 Million USDA Investment in Arkansas

OZARK- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) applauded the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $151 million investment in rural Arkansas. The funding through the USDA’s Electric Infrastructure Loan Read more

Boozman Supports Strengthening Protections for Servicemembers and their Families

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is pushing for improvements to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Boozman joined his colleagues to introduce two pieces of legislation to amend the law Read more

Providing Lifesaving Outreach to Veterans

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. With passage of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, the Senate has taken action to pave a new path forward in suicide prevention Read more

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

Pin It on Pinterest