WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced bipartisan legislation this week (S. 726) to allow veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances in classified incidents to access their military records as they apply for disability benefits and VA health care.
“Often, the impacts of toxic exposure don’t appear until long after service members have returned home from the battlefield and military records are filed away,” Moran said. “It is my privilege to lead legislation that honors the life of Gary Deloney of Fort Scott who passed while working with my staff to access the classified military records that would have proven his exposure to Agent Orange and service-connected illness.
“Our veterans and their families deserve the best our nation has to offer, and giving them access to their classified military records is the least we can do to make certain they receive the benefits they earned.”
Veterans who were exposed to toxic substances face greater chances of suffering from cancer and other health issues.
Veterans who have health conditions that are linked to exposure to toxic substances during their military service are eligible to apply for disability benefits and health care from the VA; however, some missions and projects that resulted in their exposure to such substances remain classified by the Department of Defense, despite having taken place decades ago.