In a turn-around, the government has agreed to provide millions of dollars in disability benefits to as many as 2,100 Air Force reservists and active-duty forces exposed to Agent Orange residue on planes that had been used in the Vietnam War.
The new federal rule, approved by the White House budget office, takes effect Friday.
It adds to an Agent Orange-related caseload that already makes up 1 out of 6 disability checks issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The expected cost to the government over 10 years is $47.5 million. Separate health care coverage will add to the price tag.
The VA says the rule covers military personnel who worked on C-123 planes from 1969 to 1986. Those planes were used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.