Seven senators are blame Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald to admission allowances for Agent Orange acknowledgment to a accumulation of post-Vietnam veterans.
“We abode to appetite you to advance the Department of Veterans Affairs’ absolute approved ascendancy to bound activate accouterment affliction and allowances to veterans who were apparent to baneful herbicide balance while confined on Fairchild UC-123 Provider (C-123) aircraft afterwards the era back those aircraft were acclimated to carriage Agent Orange in Vietnam,” they wrote in the letter Friday, which was appear Monday. “Justice for these veterans is continued behind and you accept the ascendancy and the adeptness to assuredly appropriate this wrong.”
C-123 veterans accept struggled for decades to get the VA to admission allowances for their illnesses, which they accept are angry to Agent Orange exposure.
An Institute of Medicine abode beforehand this year activate that at atomic some of the post-Vietnam veterans who served on the C-123 aircraft were apparent to the toxin, and were at accident for developing illnesses.
Agent Orange acknowledgment has been angry a ambit of diseases including cancer.
But the senators said they accept heard that “a question has arisen” back the abode was appear about whether or not C-123 aggregation associates — about Air Force reservists and National Guard associates — authorize as veterans beneath the VA’s guidelines for benefits.
“We fundamentally disagree and accept VA’s precedential interpretations of the accordant statute and the action assumption and acknowledged antecedent of construing statutes in favor of veterans requires VA to acquisition these reservists acceptable for benefits,” they said. “We ask that you angle by those interpretations, which we outline in this letter, and which appearance that no added approved ascendancy is all-important for you to anon activate accouterment affliction and allowances to the C-123 veterans.”
The senators said the VA was acute that a C-123 adept charge accept afflicted themselves and that “his or her abrasion charge apparent itself into a affliction during the aeon of training.”
“This not alone contradicts VA’s antecedent interpretations of the aforementioned approved language, but additionally leads to cool results,” they said. “For instance, a reservist who apprenticed Ea while aerial patients during training but shows no affection until they are in noncombatant activity would not amuse VA’s newfound interpretation.”
The senators added that Congress has told the VA to act “in the best interest” of veterans gluttonous allowances “whenever possible,” and they accept the VA currently has the bare approved ascendancy to admission allowances to the C-123 group.
“The assets airmen who served aboard C-123 aircraft are advantaged to adept cachet and the consistent affliction and allowances all-important to abode their bloom conditions,” they said. “As Secretary, you accept the ascendancy to accomplish the accommodation that would accommodate these veterans the affliction and allowances they accept earned. We ask that you do so after delay.”
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