Luis Martinez, Assistant Director of the San Angelo Veteran Affairs, says older and newer generations of the armed forces joined together to get Biden to pass the PACT Act. The West Texas News’ recent article entitled “PACT Act passed by Biden assists veterans” explains that veterans who fell victim to toxic exposures and burn pits will finally be getting benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to help pay for their conditions.
“The younger generation learned from the lessons of the Vietnam veterans. They didn’t want to be in that same situation. So it was a team effort. Older and younger veterans all pulling together to fight it. Then just contacting the congressmen and women and say, hey, we need this. It took years and finally it passed,” Martinez explained.
Breathing in toxic fumes lead many veterans and 9/11 survivors to experience major health issues, including chronic sinusitis, rhinitis and chronic bronchitis. With this new law, if a vet was denied a disability claim in the past, they’re able to reapply and have another chance to get the help they need.
According to the VA website, here are the improvements the act will bring:
- The expansion and extension of eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
- The addition of more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
- The addition of more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
- The requirement that the VA provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care; and
- Assistance in improving research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures.
Th PACT Act will benefit not only victims, but families who have been affected by their loved ones' conditions.
“If you apply for benefits now and you get service connected for these issues. If something happens later down the road and you pass away from these conditions, those turn into survivor benefits for your family. We don't want to leave your family out. So that's why this bill is huge and it's important to all of us,” Martinez said.
If you're a veteran or survivor, more information on how to apply for the PACT Act can be found at VA.gov.
Reference: West Texas News (Aug. 22, 2022) “PACT Act passed by Biden assists veterans”