Q: I have a friend who was in the USAF in the 1950′s and participated in nuclear tests in the desert near Las Vegas, NV. Since that time he has had over 30 skin surgeries. He believes the skin surgeries are related to the nuclear tests, but he has not made any inquiries. He has civilian insurance and has used it for his medical bills. Can anyone tell me if he should report this to the VA or any other government agency? Should he need medical help, would the VA provide it?
A: Monthly VA payments of up to $2,673 are available to those exposed in Japan as part of the clean-up efforts at the end of WWII.
Veterans involved in nuclear testing and atmospheric fallout should NOT file anything with the VA, but instead should file and receive a one-time compensation from the Justice Department under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990. There are 21 kinds of cancers covered, but I do not see any mention of skin cancer or problems. ALL cancers are considered on a case-by-case basis, though, so there is hope. Compensation is based on the servicemember’s position: uranium miners, millers, and transporters; onsite participants; and downwinders.
Veterans must furnish their medical and military records as well as the location where they were exposed, information verified by the government. The first step in filing is to get his Film Badge Radiation Exposure History and go from there.
Please check these sites for more detailed information: