WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mike Braun and Marco Rubio introduced a bill to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Spina Bifida Program for children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange/herbicides.

“Many veterans are unaware of the benefits available for their children with certain birth defects due to their exposure to Agent Orange. I am proud to introduce this legislation which will ensure that these beneficiaries get the care and benefits awarded to them by law.” – Senator Mike Braun

“Our veterans made a tremendous sacrifice when they chose to serve our country. This legislation would help the children of Florida veterans, who were exposed to Agent Orange, and born with spina bifida, by making it easier for them to access high quality resources and care.” – Senator Marco Rubio

BACKGROUND

·         The OCC Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program Guide states, “This program provides services and supplies for enrolled beneficiaries for all covered medical conditions, not simply those related to Spina Bifida.” This assistance includes instrumental activities of daily living (i.e., cleaning a house or apartment, showering, cooking, etc.).    

·         The VA Inspector General (VAOIG) reported serious problems with the administration of the Spina Bifida program in their 2021 report, including failure to deliver benefits appropriately and to conduct proper oversight, leading to waste of taxpayer dollars.  

·         It is estimated over 1,500 Veterans children suffer from Spina Bifida in the U.S. and yet less than half of those are enrolled in the program.

View bill text here.

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Issues