April 29, 2021

Crapo, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Improve Care and Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Toxic Substances

Washington, D.C.--Between 2007 and 2020, about 75 percent of veteran disability claims related to burn pit exposure were denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced new bipartisan legislation, the Toxic Exposure Training Act, to require VA to provide health care personnel with improved education and training to identify, treat and assess the impact of illnesses related to exposure to burn pits and other toxic substances.  

“Veterans should not have to miss or face gaps in health care coverage they have rightfully earned through their brave service to our country because of a lack of training and education necessary to fully understand the risks of toxic exposure in combat operations,” said Crapo.  “Better training and education resources at the Department of Veterans Affairs will reduce claims processing times, minimize burden of proof on the veteran, deliver quicker benefits and ensure our nation’s heroes receive the best medical care possible.” 

“When we ask our young men and women to defend our nation, we make a promise to be there for them when they return home,” said Klobuchar.  “This bipartisan legislation will improve training for VA personnel to ensure veterans exposed to toxic substances receive the medical care and benefits they’ve earned.” 

The Toxic Exposure Training Act would require the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Compensation Service to establish and mandate an ongoing national training program.  Denied claims have adverse effects on veterans’ ability to treat illnesses stemming from toxic exposure. 

Senator Crapo is also a co-sponsor of S. 437, the Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act, which would address barriers currently preventing many veterans from getting VA health care and benefits for illnesses and diseases related to exposure to burn pits.