PEMBERTON, NJ - Congressman MacArthur announced as a press conference Tuesday at American Legion Post #294 in Pemberton that he has introduced legislation to help veterans who are suffering from Agent Orange or other herbicide-related conditions.
The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act expands the time frame of eligibility for disability compensation for veterans who served at or near the Korean DMZ and are suffering from herbicide-related conditions.
Currently, that time frame is between April 1, 1968 and August 3rd, 1971. This legislation will change the eligibility date to September 1, 1967 for these veterans, allowing them to receive the health care they have earned.
During the press conference, Congressman MacArthur was joined by representatives from the American Legion and the VFW, who both support this legislation.
“Currently, there are hundreds of Korean War veterans suffering from Agent Orange and other herbicide-related conditions that are unable to receive the health care they deserve,” said Congressman Tom MacArthur. “My bill will expand the time frame of eligibility for these veterans to receive disability benefits allowing them to finally receive the appropriate care. As the son of a Korean War veteran and Representative of more than 50,000 veterans, I believe we have a moral obligation to provide quality care for our veterans. They have sacrificed so much for our freedoms and now it’s up to us to fight for them.”
“The VFW is proud to stand with Congressman MacArthur in support of veterans who served on the Korean DMZ prior to April of 1968 and now suffer from adverse health conditioned associated with exposure to Agent Orange,” said Ken Wiseman, Associate Director of National Legislative Service for the VFW. “Those veterans, from several Army units, supported our Korean allies and their service has caused health problems which must not be ignored. This legislation would properly recognize the earlier time period that Agent Orange was used and, in turn, clear the hurdles that veterans have faced when securing their earned benefits from VA.
“The VFW has received an outpouring of evidence from our members proving that an earlier date is merited. We have seen where individual veterans have successfully argued for earned benefits with the support of detailed witness statements but only after a lengthy appeals process. Our national convention has passed resolutions in support of this change for several years. Changing the start date through legislation will fix this problem once and for all and Congressman MacArthur’s leadership on this issue helps Korean DMZ veterans received the recognition and benefits they deserve.”
“Veterans who served this nation honorably should never be denied assistance when returning home from injuries sustained while fighting for this country,” said Charles Schmidt, National Commander for the American Legion. “This bill will assist those veterans in obtaining treatment from the VA by including the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to active duty service members who were stationed near the DMZ before April 1, 1968. We greatly appreciate the work of Congressman MacArthur’s office on this important proposal that will positively affect thousands of American veterans and their families.”