VA discusses new PACT Act with Alabama veterans

Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans are now eligible for healthcare and benefits.
Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans are now eligible for healthcare and benefits.(Monae Stevens (WSFA 12 News))
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 11:29 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2022 at 12:24 AM EST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thousands of veterans could be qualified for healthcare and benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

President Joe Biden signed the “Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act”, also known as the PACT Act, which allows veterans to apply for health care and benefits related to any toxic exposure while on active duty.

In the past, the VA could not link medical conditions to toxic exposures that happened during the time veterans served on active duty.

“It’s a new liberalizing law that is going to open the door to a lot more veterans to both healthcare with VA, as well as benefits through VA, and specifically having to do mainly with toxic burn pit exposures,” said Cory Hawthorne, regional director for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Montgomery.

Veterans who served in the Vietnam era, Gulf War era, and post-9/11 era are now eligible for benefits and health care.

Toxic substances include but are not limited to: burn pits, oil well fires, Agent Orange, Camp Lejeune water supplies, pesticides, nuclear weapons testing, mustard gas, and asbestos.

Eligible veterans will receive an initial toxic exposure and a follow-up screening every five years.

Veterans like Frank Dillman says the townhall meeting helped them understand their eligibility status.

“I’m seeing currently a neurologist for possibly some of the problems with the toxic water in Camp LeJeune,” Dillman said.

Dillman added he plans to forward information to his comrades to help them seek the care they need.

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