(Tribune News Service) The Department of Veterans Affairs has rejected the vast majority of claims filed by veterans who were exposed to mustard gas as part of secret experiments during World War II, according to a report released Tuesday by Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
About 60,000 military service members were used as human guinea pigs in a military research program to test protective equipment. Roughly 4,000 of them received high levels of full-body exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite, another toxic agent.
But the VA has rejected the claims of 85 percent of the veterans who applied for benefits related to the secret testing, according to the report.
Advertisement - story continues below
From 2005 to 2015, the VA identified 1,213 disability claims related to mustard agent exposure from 792 World War II veterans. Of those claims, 1,028 were denied, the report found.
Only 40 veterans nationwide now are receiving the benefits, McCaskill said.