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August 16, 2012

Compassionate Allowances List: Updated to include rare lung disease found in many veterans

Veterans who have been diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis can now be put on the fast track to receive health benefits. The Social Security Administration updated its "compassionate allowances" list (CAL), effective August 11, 2012, to include this rare lung disease that is found in many veterans who were recently exposed to burn pits on military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. The administration says, the CAL allows them to grant benefits more quickly to applicants with medical conditions "so serious they obviously meet disability standards."

"This is a huge breakthrough for us," Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Neil Rogers said in an article on NavyTimes.com, referring to himself and nearly 50 other service members who have been diagnosed with the disease. "It practically guarantees us benefits."

Burn pits are open-air landfills used to burn military waste, including plastic, electronics, chemicals, medical, paint and human waste. Some veterans who were exposed to the smoke from the burn pits are developing serious, chronic illnesses such as lung cancer, kidney damage or severe respiratory problems. Some medical professionals and veterans believe there is a link between these illnesses and the service members' exposure to these burn pits.

Motley Rice attorneys are working with co-counsel Susan Burke of Burke PLLC in the KBR, Inc., Burn Pit multidistrict litigation (MDL) representing clients against multiple defense contractors for allegedly exposing American soldiers and former employees of defense contractors to toxic smoke, ash and fumes generated by disposing of waste in open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. We welcome you to contact us about a potential lawsuit if you, a family member or friend developed any adverse health issues after recently living or working on or near a military base in Iraq or Afghanistan that operated one or more burn pits. Contact Burke PLLC attorney Susan Burke by email or call 202.386.9622; or contact Motley Rice attorney Joe Rice by email or call 1.800.768.4026.