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National Veterans Legal Services Program marks a year of Burn Pits Claims Assistance

November 09, 2022 (3 min read)

By National Veterans Legal Services Program

Burn Pits Claims Assistance

As we reflect on this Veterans Day, the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is proud to have recently marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of its Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program  a program which has provided legal representation and other assistance to veterans seeking VA disability benefits for their burn pit-related disabilities since October 2021.

During its first year, the Program has represented dozens of veterans on VA disability claims related to burn pit exposure by, among other things, securing private medical opinions addressing the relationship between the exposure and the veteran’s disability and appealing denials of claims.  We’ve helped dozens of other veterans by providing assistance and information on how to file a successful claim. 

The Program has managed to obtain tens of thousands of dollars for veterans in prospective monthly disability benefits and retroactive benefits.

As just one example of the BPCAP’s success, one of its first clients, who sought disability benefits for kidney cancer he believed was related to his exposures in service, received monthly prospective benefits and almost $30,000 in retroactive benefits from the VA just a few months after signing up for the program. Since then, some of the other conditions the BPCAP has proven are connected to a veteran’s in-service toxic exposures include: prostate cancer, asthma, sleep apnea, sinusitis, and rhinitis.

Because of the work of the assistance program, these veterans will now receive tax-free monthly benefits to compensate them for these service-connected diseases for the rest of their lives.

Veterans Disability Benefits

With the passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our PACT Act, it is now significantly easier for veterans to obtain disability benefits for many of the diseases that have been linked to burn pits and other toxic exposures in service.

This new development in veterans law is well overdue and certainly worth celebrating, but unfortunately, some of the conditions experienced at higher rates by veterans exposed to burn pits during their service remain uncovered by the PACT Act.

The system veterans must navigate to obtain these benefits can still be confusing and, if the past is any indication of the future, the VA is likely to make mistakes down the road that lead to claims being wrongfully denied, even for conditions covered under the new law. For these reasons, NVLSP’s work in this area will continue. Our goals have not changed, and we will continue to fight for veterans exposed to burn pits in service and to help them obtain the benefits they need and deserve well into the foreseeable future.

Veterans Benefits Manual

The 2022-2023 edition of the Veterans Benefits Manual has been thoroughly updated with the important developments in veterans' law over the past year. This includes important new presumptions of service connection for diseases now recognized as associated with exposure to toxic particulate matter and emissions from burn pits in Southwest Asia.


NVLSP’s Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program marks a major expansion of the free legal representation that NVLSP has provided to veterans and their survivors over the last 40 years.  NVLSP has a solid record of defending the rights of veterans with chronic illnesses due to their exposure during military service to toxic chemicals. 

NVLSP is an independent, nonprofit veterans service organization that has served active duty military personnel and veterans since 1981. NVLSP strives to ensure that our nation honors its commitment to its 22 million veterans and active duty personnel by ensuring they have the benefits they have earned through their service to our country.

NVLSP has represented veterans in lawsuits that compelled enforcement of the law where the VA or other military services denied benefits to veterans in violation of the law.

NVLSP’s success in these lawsuits has resulted in more than $5.2 billion dollars being awarded in disability, death and medical benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors.

NVLSP offers training for attorneys and other advocates; connects veterans and active duty personnel with pro bono legal help when seeking disability benefits; publishes the nation's definitive guide on veteran benefits; and represents and litigates for veterans and their families before the VA, military discharge review agencies and federal courts. For more information on NVLSP, go to

To learn more, visit the NVLSP Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program official website.