Washington, D.C. (KNWA/KFTA) — U.S. Senator from Arkansas John Boozman is renewing efforts to support Vietnam veterans impacted by hazardous chemicals.
The bipartisan bill would allow veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War to prove toxic exposure in order to qualify for Veterans Affairs benefits.
Currently, the VA only gives benefits to those who served within a certain perimeter of a Thai military base leaving many who were exposed unable to get help like Bill Rhodes, a veteran suffering from diseases caused by exposure. Right now, he can’t apply for benefits.
“Basically, it would recognize all veterans that served in Thailand. If you were there on a military base, you were presumed exposed,” Rhodes said.
In 2019, Boozman helped pass the Blue Water Navy Bill which allowed nearly 100,000 Vietnam Veterans, exposed to toxic herbicides, get benefits from the VA.