In a victory for Veterans seeking disability compensation benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs for disabilities due to burn pits and other toxic exposures, the US Senate recently passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022.
This is the largest single bill in American history that addresses Veterans’ exposure to toxic substances, according to the White House. What this really means for Veterans and the VA is that it expands eligibility to include Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic materials and substances for health care and disability compensation benefits through the VA.
The PACT Act of 2022 is a reaction and reflection on various burning practices used in wars from the 1990s onward. Many Veterans served near open-air burn pits that burned everything from garbage to jet fuel and other toxic materials. This Act seeks to make it easier for Veterans, especially post 9/11 combat Veterans, seeking healthcare for disabilities related to their service to receive the care they need from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Act also expands the VA’s presence, opening 31 new VA healthcare facilities across the country. In explicitly expanding the eligibility of care for Veterans, the Act will add 23 burn pit/toxic exposure-related conditions to the VA’s list of potential conditions developed while in service to the country. This group of people includes an estimated 3.5 million Veterans who have been exposed to such conditions.
“For hundreds of thousands of Veterans, generations of our all-volunteer military and their families, this bill is putting us on a path to finally recognizing the toxic wounds of war,” Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester said at a news conference. “This bill is the legislation we envisioned when we set out to right the wrongs to our toxic-exposed Veterans, and I’m grateful to ranking member Jerry Moran, our committee colleagues, Veterans Service Organizations, Veterans’ advocates, and the Biden administration for making this possible. Our men and women in uniform held up their end of the bargain, and I’m proud we’re holding up ours.”
The bill still needs to return to the US House of Representatives for approval but is still historic in its bipartisan support to get passed in both houses pending approval.
Gustad Law Group is committed to helping Veterans receive the disability compensation benefits they deserve when they have been denied or under-evaluated. If you need expert legal representation in solving your important case, call us for a free consultation with VA accredited lawyers today!