Monday, June 28, 2010
Low approval rate for vets' chemical tests claims
By Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — The Veterans Affairs Department has granted only 6 percent of health claims filed by veterans of secret Cold War chemical and germ warfare tests conducted by the Pentagon, according to figures obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
Veterans advocates called the number appallingly low.
By comparison, about 88 percent of processed claims from Gulf War vets were granted as of last year, according to VA documents. More than 90 percent of processed claims from Iraq and Afghanistan vets were granted as of earlier this year.
In a statement the VA said it was "incorrect" to make such comparisons because of the unique circumstances of different groups of veterans.
The VA noted that most of the veterans of the chemical and germ tests ended their service more than three decades ago and a study by the advisory Institute of Medicine -- dismissed by veterans as shoddily done -- found no clear connection between the tests and the cancer, respiratory illnesses and other problems the veterans are now having.