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Veterans Exposed To Toxins Overseas To Get Disability Benefits

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John Minchillo
/
AP

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced changes this week that make it easier for veterans to get disability benefits for diseases linked to toxic exposure.

The move comes after years of lobbying by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and comedian Jon Stewart.

The VA estimates 3.5 million service members inhaled toxic fumes from burn pits overseas. They developed asthma and other respiratory illnesses later in life.

The new rules will automatically assume many of those diseases are due to toxic exposure, making it easier for veterans to get disability benefits.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.