AFFF Exposure VA Disability: How the Claims Process Works

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch, founder of TruLaw, has over 25 years of experience as a personal injury and mass tort attorney, and previously worked as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. Jessie collaborates with attorneys nationwide — enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at TruLaw and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Jessie Paluch, you can do so here.

TruLaw does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us by using the chat on the bottom of this page. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Key takeaways:

  • Veterans exposed to AFFF during military service may qualify for VA disability benefits if they develop certain cancers or other health conditions linked to PFAS chemicals.
  • To file a successful VA claim for AFFF-related disabilities, veterans must provide evidence of their exposure during service and a current medical diagnosis of a qualifying condition.
  • If an AFFF VA disability claim is denied, veterans can appeal the decision by submitting additional evidence or seeking legal assistance from experienced attorneys specializing in toxic exposure cases.

Overview of AFFF Exposure VA Disability

On this page, we’ll discuss AFFF Exposure VA Disability, the process of obtaining VA disability benefits for AFFF-related health issues, the requirements for a successful claim, and much more.

AFFF Exposure VA Disability How the Claims Process Works

Intro to AFFF Exposure VA Disability

To qualify for VA disability benefits related to AFFF exposure, you must meet several criteria, including:

  • Diagnosis: You must have a current diagnosis of a health condition that is linked to AFFF exposure.
  • Service Connection: You must provide evidence that your AFFF exposure occurred during your military service.
  • Medical Nexus: A medical professional must establish a link between your diagnosed health condition and your in-service AFFF exposure.
  • Disability Rating: The VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of your condition, which determines your level of benefits.

If you’re a veteran struggling with health issues related to AFFF exposure during your military service, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits.

Contact TruLaw using the chat feature on this page for a free case evaluation to learn more about your rights and how to pursue the benefits you deserve.

Table of Contents

Overview of AFFF Exposure VA Disability

On this page, we’ll discuss an overview of AFFF exposure, VA disability, VA disability benefits, aqueous film-forming foam, and much more.

Introduction to AFFF Exposure VA Disability

The military and other agencies have widely used Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) for firefighting and training exercises purposes.

Veterans who have been exposed to AFFF may be at risk for certain human health conditions and can seek VA disability compensation for ailments associated with this exposure.

Key Facts about AFFF Exposure and its Implications:

  • AFFF, also known as firefighting foam, contains toxic chemicals such as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to adverse health effects.
  • Veterans who were exposed to AFFF may develop health problems that the VA recognizes for disability benefits.
  • The process for obtaining disability compensation involves providing evidence of military service, exposure to AFFF, and a current diagnosis of a related medical condition.
  • While direct presumptive connections for AFFF exposure are still being evaluated, veterans affected can file claims for VA disability on a case-by-case basis.

By understanding the relationship between AFFF exposure and potential health risks, veterans can better assert their rights for deserved disability compensation.

Qualifying Conditions for AFFF VA Claims

Veterans who were exposed to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) during military service may qualify for disability VA compensation if they’ve developed health concerns linked to this exposure.

Rigorous toxic chemical risk assessments have identified specific medical conditions associated with PFAS chemicals commonly found in AFFF.

Cancers Linked to Military AFFF Exposure

The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes several cancers as potentially connected to military exposure to PFAS forever chemicals.

Veterans diagnosed with any of the following may be eligible for benefits:

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer

Each condition is evaluated individually, considering the veteran’s service records and toxic exposure history.

Other Disabling Conditions from PFAS Chemicals

Beyond cancers, there are additional disabling conditions that may be associated with AFFF exposure.

Veterans experiencing these health issues may also be considered for disability compensation:

  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • High Cholesterol

These conditions are part of a broader conversation concerning PFAS-related health concerns, which can manifest after serving in areas where AFFF firefighting foam was commonly used.

Proving Military AFFF Exposure for VA Claims

To successfully file a VA disability claim for conditions related to AFFF exposure, service members need to demonstrate how their military occupation led to the exposure and provide evidence that supports their AFFF foam lawsuit.

Military Occupations at High Risk for Exposure

Certain military roles had a heightened risk of exposure to Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), a firefighting substance used extensively at military installations.

Here are prominent roles with a higher exposure likelihood:

  • Air Force Firefighter: Often worked directly with AFFF class b firefighting foam during emergency and training situations.
  • Military Firefighters: Regularly engaged in firefighting and crash rescue operations utilizing AFFF.
  • Personnel Stationed at Military Airports: Might have been exposed to AFFF in the event of fire suppression activities.
  • Former Military Firefighters: These individuals may have experienced significant contact with AFFF due to their past duties.

Evidence of AFFF Exposure During Service

Establishing a service connection for VA disability claims hinges on sufficient evidence.

To this end, claimants should consider the following sources:

  • Military Records: Document roles and duties substantiating potential exposure to dangerous substances.
  • Medical Records: Contain a critical history of health conditions that could be linked to AFFF exposure.
  • Competent Medical Evidence: Medical opinions that correlate current health issues with AFFF exposure during military service.
  • In-Service Exposure Documentation: Any military service reporting or environmental surveys showcasing the presence of AFFF at posts where service members were stationed.

VA Disability Ratings for AFFF Conditions

Veterans who have been exposed to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) may be entitled to VA benefits if health complications arise.

The VA disability ratings play a critical role in determining the level of financial compensation.

How the VA Rates AFFF-Related Disabilities

The VA assesses each AFFF-related disability based on its severity and impact on the veteran’s life.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. A veteran files a VA claim, presenting evidence of an AFFF-related health problem.
  2. The disability percentage is determined, ranging from 0% to 100%.
  3. This percentage reflects the severity of the disability and its effect on the veteran’s ability to work.
  4. The higher the disability rating, the greater the monthly financial compensation.

Importance of Medical Evidence in AFFF Claims

Strong medical evidence is vital to support a veteran’s claim for AFFF exposure disabilities.

Keep the following in mind:

  • A current medical diagnosis of a condition connected to AFFF exposure is required.
  • Submission of competent medical evidence links the disability to military service.
  • VA recognizes this evidence when assessing claims and assigning disability ratings.
  • The thoroughness and clarity of medical documentation can significantly impact the outcome of the claim.

Appealing AFFF VA Disability Claim Denials

When Veterans are faced with a denial of their AFFF-related VA disability claim, understanding why the claim was denied and the appeal process is essential.

Common Reasons Why AFFF Claims Get Denied

Veterans Affairs (VA) may deny AFFF exposure claims for several reasons.

Here are some key factors leading to denials:

  1. Lack of Medical Evidence: VA requires concrete medical records linking AFFF exposure to the claimed health condition.
  2. Service Connection Not Established: If a Veteran doesn’t adequately demonstrate that the exposure occurred during military service, the claim may get denied.
  3. Insufficient Hazard Exposure: Claims that fail to show a certain level of exposure to AFFF may not meet the eligibility criteria for compensation benefits.
  4. Missing Deadlines: Timeliness is critical in the VA claims process; delayed submissions can result in denials.

How to Appeal an AFFF VA Claim Denial

Veterans have options for appealing a denial of their AFFF-related VA claim, which can involve several legal processes.

Before starting an appeal, Veterans should consider:

  1. Reviewing the Denial Letter: It contains valuable information on why the claim was denied.
  2. Collecting Additional Evidence: This can include updated medical records or new expert opinions.
  3. Seeking Legal Assistance: A law firm specializing in veterans’ benefits can provide guidance and representation.
  4. Choosing the Right Appeal Path: Veterans can pursue a Supplemental Claim, a Higher-Level Review, or a Board Appeal as outlined on the VA Decision Reviews and Appeals page.

In the appeal process, Veterans may need to provide additional evidence or attend hearings, and support from legal experts can be particularly helpful.

The goal is to ensure that all aspects of the claim are thoroughly evaluated and that the Veteran secures the compensation benefits and medical care they deserve.

What to Do If You Have an AFFF Disability

When a veteran is affected by AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) exposure, understanding the steps to take for VA disability compensation is vital.

These steps can help affected individuals manage their health conditions and secure the disability benefits they may be entitled to.

TruLaw Is the Top AFFF VA Disability Firm

TruLaw has a reputation for being highly proficient in handling AFFF-related VA disability claims.

They guide veterans through the process of accessing their VA benefits.

Here’s what individuals should consider when pursuing an AFFF disability claim:

  • Identify Symptoms: Keep track of any health issues that have developed since exposure to AFFF.
  • Medical Documentation: Obtain comprehensive medical records that relate to the AFFF exposure and subsequent health conditions.
  • Service Connection: Demonstrate a clear link between AFFF exposure during military service and the health conditions experienced.
  • Legal Representation: Consider securing a reputable firm like TruLaw to navigate the VA benefits application process.

Veterans face unique challenges post-service, particularly with exposures that can long-term affect their health.

Metrically taken steps can positively impact the outcome of their claims for the benefits they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the recognized symptoms of AFFF exposure for VA disability claims?

    The Department of Veterans Affairs and Environmental Protection Agency recognizes several health concerns linked to AFFF exposure, including testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and other medical conditions.

    Veterans who experience these symptoms may be eligible for disability benefits.

  • How does the Navy handle AFFF exposure cases about VA disability?

    The Navy assesses AFFF exposure cases by evaluating potential health impacts and documenting exposure incidents.

    Service members reporting illnesses potentially related to AFFF are advised to file a claim with the VA.

  • What is the VA disability rating for PFAS-related conditions?

    VA disability ratings for PFAS-related conditions vary depending on the severity of the condition.

    Conditions like cancer may warrant a higher disability rating, reflecting the significant impact on a veteran’s health.

  • What are the presumptive conditions associated with AFFF exposure for veterans?

    The VA acknowledges certain presumptive conditions from AFFF exposure, such as adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, and other myelodysplastic syndromes.

    Veterans diagnosed with these conditions are presumed to be service-connected for disability compensation.

  • How does military base toxic exposure affect veterans' disability benefits?

    Toxic exposure on military bases can lead to presumptive disability benefits for veterans.

    The VA examines the link between service on contaminated bases and subsequent health issues when determining entitlements to benefits.

  • What are the recent legislative changes affecting veterans exposed to Toxic PFAS?

    Recent legislation like the Honoring Our PACT Act expands healthcare eligibility and disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic PFAS.

    The Act aims to support those who have suffered health consequences due to PFAS exposure during military service.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

You can learn more about the AFFF Lawsuit by visiting any of our pages listed below:

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AFFF Lawsuit

Legal action is being taken against manufacturers of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), a chemical used in fighting fires. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to the foam caused health issues such as cancer, organ damage, and birth and fertility issues.

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