Missouri veterans who have been exposed to toxins and similar risks can now go directly to VA healthcare without applying for VA benefits.

David Lee, Missouri’s Veterans Service Program Director, said the move aims to help veterans who served at home and abroad.

“Veterans who were exposed to toxins or other hazards during military service, veterans who were assigned to certain duty stations in Southwest Asia or parts of Africa, and veterans who were deployed in support of certain operations after September 11,” Lee told Missourinet.

Lee said the VA’s decision could open up healthcare for thousands of Missouri veterans.

“And even if you’ve never deployed, but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or serving on active duty here at home, and that’s by working with chemicals, pesticides, lead, asbestos, certain paints, nuclear weapons, x-rays, different various types of fuels, you can also enroll,” he said.

Lee encourages veterans to contact one of Missouri’s 34 Veterans Service Offices for help.

“If you already are working with a service officer or you did years ago, laws change, eligibility changes, exposure changes. It’s good to visit with a Veteran Service officer at least on an annual basis, just to check in,” he said.

More information is also available by going to veteranbenefits.mo.gov or by calling 1-800-MYVA411.

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