Burn Pit Registry

What Veterans Need to Know About the Burn Pit Registry

If you're one of the millions of veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or certain other overseas locations in recent decades, you may have been exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits. Many vets are now suffering serious health problems linked to these exposures, but are unaware of an important VA program that can help - the VA Burn Pit Registry.

In this article, we'll explain what the registry is, who qualifies, how to sign up, and how it can benefit you. If you think you may have health issues related to burn pit smoke, read on to make sure you're not missing out on valuable assistance you've earned.

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What Are Burn Pits and Why Are They Dangerous?

At many military sites in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti and some other locations in the years after 9/11, waste products were disposed of in large open-air "burn pits." All types of refuse were incinerated in these pits, including plastics, medical waste, rubber, chemicals and more.

The smoke from these burn pits contained a toxic mix of pollutants and carcinogens. Many service members were exposed to the fumes for extended periods, sometimes even living and working in close proximity to active burn pits. Exposure has been linked to numerous health problems including respiratory issues, skin conditions, cancers and more.

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What is the VA Burn Pit Registry?

Established in 2014, the VA Burn Pit Registry is a secure database where eligible veterans can document their burn pit exposures and related health concerns. It's a voluntary program intended to help the VA track and study the health effects of burn pits over time.

Participating in the registry helps the VA gather data to improve our understanding of burn pit risks. This not only helps you by medically documenting any health issues, but also helps your fellow veterans by advancing research on exposure-related conditions that may warrant new treatments or disability benefits in the future.

Who Can Join the Burn Pit Registry?

You are eligible for the VA Burn Pit Registry if you served in one of the following regions on or after September 11, 2001:

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Oman
  • Bahrain
  • Gulf of Aden
  • Gulf of Oman
  • UAE
  • Qatar
  • Djibouti
  • Airspace above any of these locations

You do NOT need to have a diagnosed health condition to join the registry. You also do not need to be enrolled in VA health care. Any eligible veteran can sign up, regardless of current health status.

It's important to note that being in the Burn Pit Registry does NOT automatically grant you any VA disability benefits. It is simply a database to track exposures and health concerns. However, it can be a helpful supporting piece of evidence if you later file a disability claim for burn pit-related health issues.

How Do I Sign Up for the Burn Pit Registry?

The registry is open to any eligible veteran, whether or not you are enrolled in VA health care. You can sign up online or at a VA facility. Here's how:

  1. Go to veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry
  2. Click "Start the Registry Process"
  3. Log in with your DS Logon Level 2 account (the same one you use for eBenefits and other VA sites). If you don't have an account, you can create one.
  4. Complete and submit the online questionnaire.

After completing the questionnaire, you can schedule a free, optional health evaluation with a VA provider, but are not required to do so. However, the evaluation is recommended as it can help detect any undiagnosed health issues.

You can also sign up for the registry at a VA medical facility by completing a hard copy questionnaire. Ask your provider for an "Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry Questionnaire."

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Benefits of Joining the Burn Pit Registry

The most direct benefit of being in the registry is that it documents your exposure and health concerns in your VA records. This can be helpful supporting evidence if you later develop a condition that you believe is connected to burn pit exposure and wish to file a disability claim.

By being in the registry, you're also helping all veterans who may have been harmed by burn pit toxins. The data collected helps the VA study the long-term health consequences of exposure. This research can identify new presumptive conditions that make it easier for burn pit veterans to receive disability benefits. It can also lead to new treatments for exposure-related illnesses.

The optional health exam can also be beneficial by screening you for undiagnosed health problems so you can seek treatment early. You may even discover a condition you weren't aware of that makes you eligible for disability benefits right now.

What to Do if You Have Health Issues from Burn Pits

If you have health problems that you believe are related to burn pit exposure, being in the registry is an important first step, but there are a few other actions you should take:

  1. Get a diagnosis and treatment from a doctor, either at the VA or with a private physician.
  2. If your conditions impact your daily functioning, consider filing a disability claim with the VA. The burn pit registry does not guarantee any benefits, but it can help support your case. You'll likely need to submit other supporting evidence as well, such as medical records and buddy statements.
  3. If you need assistance filing a strong disability claim and navigating the VA system, consider contacting a veteran disability advocate like [Author's service]. We specialize in helping vets with complex cases get the benefits they've earned. Reach out today for a free consultation.
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You Fought For Your Country, Let Us Fight for You.

If you're a veteran struggling with burn pit related conditions and your disability claim has been denied, don't lose hope. Appeals are common, and with the right support, you can successfully navigate the process to secure the benefits you deserve. At Veterans Disability Aid, our experienced team is dedicated to guiding you through every stage of the appeals journey. We understand the challenges you face and the importance of obtaining a fair disability rating that accurately reflects the impact of your burn pit related injuries on your daily life. You fought for your country, let us fight for you.

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