The Department of Veterans Affairs is hiring new staff within its Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA) to support the adjudication and disbursement of benefits related to agent orange and other toxic chemical exposure.
Since January, the agency has sought to expand benefits to veterans who suffered damage to their health as a consequence of exposure to napalm and other harmful chemical agents. In addition to the support provided for Vietnam War veterans, these benefits will also extend to veterans who faced similar exposures during the Gulf War.
VA has just begun processing these new claims as of September, noted Secretary McDonough at a recent press conference in Washington, DC.
“We’ve started processing claims for the new presumptive conditions related to toxic exposure for Vietnam War and Gulf War vets," he said.
Ensuring these claims are evaluated and distributed in a timely manner will require additional manpower within the Veterans Benefits Administration, with the agency now undergoing a considerable hiring push to fulfill this demand.
“VA has begun an aggressive effort to hire 2,000 more employees to process these claims,” McDonough said.