WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today re-introduced S. 576, the Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act, bipartisan legislation to expand presumption for veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to cover the period of Sept. 1, 1967-Aug. 31, 1971. The bill would change the presumptive dates to match Congress’s original intent of covering the entire period of spraying to include the testing period, allowing veterans who served in the Korean DMZ and have been negatively impacted by toxic exposure to receive their full benefits.
“The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act would help increase access to healthcare for Korean DMZ veterans who served in the region while testing of Agent Orange and other herbicides was occurring,” said Sen. Moran. “Many veterans who served in the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam War are suffering from significant health conditions associated with exposure to toxic herbicides, and those exposures are currently not being recognized by the VA. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation so we can finally resolve this issue and Korean DMZ veterans can begin receiving the benefits they deserve.”
“The VFW is proud to stand with Senator Moran in support of veterans who served on the Korean DMZ and now suffer from adverse health conditioned associated with exposure to Agent Orange,” said VFW National Legislative Service Director Carlos Fuentes. “This important bill would rightfully ensure veterans who served along the Korean DMZ between September 1967 and April 1968 have the opportunity to receive the care and benefits they have earned and deserve.”
“The American Legion strongly supports the Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act to expand access to healthcare benefits for Veterans serving in the Korean DMZ prior to April 1968,” said American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad. “Senator Moran is a staunch ally for veterans and has worked for years to increase benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their service. We are pleased to be partnering with him in introducing this critical piece of legislation to help Korean War veterans receive the benefits they have earned and encourage quick action from the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to report this legislation favorably to the Senate floor.”
Declassified Department of Defense documents indicate that the testing period occurred before the current presumptive dates. Currently, presumption for Korean DMZ veterans only covers the time period of April 1, 1968-Aug. 31, 1971. The Veterans of Foreign Wars estimates the approximately 1,000-1,500 Korean DMZ veterans could benefit from the Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act.
Original cosponsors of the Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act include U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Item to note:
- Today, during a Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing, Sen. Moran discussed this legislation with witnesses representing The American Legion.
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