WASHINGTON –Senator Mike Braun and Democratic co-lead Senator Maggie Hassan applauded last week’s Senate passage of their bill to strengthen VA Spina Bifida Program for children of Vietnam veterans suffering from spina bifida due to Agent Orange, and encouraged the House of Representatives to take up the legislation for Veterans without delay.
Many Vietnam veterans were exposed to the chemical Agent Orange during their service. Children born to those exposed to Agent Orange have a higher risk of spina bifida.
“Many veterans are unaware of the benefits available for their children with certain birth defects due to their exposure to Agent Orange. This legislation will ensure that these beneficiaries get the care and benefits they deserve.” – Senator Mike Braun
“Vietnam veterans sacrificed significantly for our country, and it is up to us to ensure that their children who were born with spina bifida receive the care that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “I am glad to see this commonsense bill pass the Senate, and I urge our colleagues in the House to pass this bill so that we can help more veterans’ children with spina bifida access the support that they deserve.”
- 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.