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| Michael P. Ehline

What You Need to Know About the PACT Act and Your VA Benefits and Services

Are you or your family member a veteran looking for answers about the many health conditions you suffer? Did you know you may be eligible to apply for PACT ACT bill protections, even if it’s for a deceased Vietnam-era veteran? After some wrangling by democrats and republicans, President Biden just signed the PACT Act. This law may be the VA’s largest-ever health care and benefits expansion in VA history.

In essence, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act is the official name [Decorated combat medic] of the regulation to expand benefits to sure of our nation’s veterans beyond funding ordinary resources for a VA disability claim.

But the new law is a bunch of toxic exposure to toxic substances bills packed into one. The (PACT) Act explicitly addresses the veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War era, and post-9/11 conflicts exposed to hazardous substances. This Act is the most substantial extension of compensation and services for toxic-exposed veterans with severe illnesses in more than 30 years.

Waives the Statute of Limitations?

The idea is that it will waive the statute of limitations under the Federal Tort Claims so sure people stationed, living at presumptive exposure locations (Example: Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962-June 30, 1976) throughout the world to file claims for presumptive conditions. In essence, it recognizes past wrongs and extends eligibility for many veterans with service-connected disabilities beyond making a typical VA disability claim.

These changes will be made thanks to the PACT Act:

  • Increase and expand VA health care eligibility and other VA resources for veterans exposed to harmful substances and veterans of Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
  • Add more than 20 new presumptive criteria for exposure to hazardous, toxic substances and burn pits
  • Expand the areas where other toxic substances, including radiation and Agent Orange contamination / toxic exposure, are presumably occurring
  • Makes the VA conduct hazardous and toxic exposure testing on Vietnam Veterans suffering from a list of conditions and other delineated veterans receiving VA medical care
  • Increase the number of years after discharge that post-9/11 combat veterans have to enroll in VA health care from five to 10 years as an overall benefit expansion
  • It will make this easier for more veterans who meet the requirements to sign up for VA health care without proving a service-connected disability. It expands VA health care and benefits at VA health care facilities.

Millions of Veterans Could Be Covered

The most recent Senate vote contributes to expanding VA medical care for the millions of combat veterans who served near burn pits and were exposed to harmful substances. Additionally, it requires the VA to assume that some cancers and respiratory conditions were brought on by their military service.

This enables veterans to receive higher disability payments to cover these injuries without having to provide proof. Before this law, the VA would need veterans to provide indisputable evidence that the pits caused the conditions.

Covered Burn Pits and Other Toxic Exposures

About 70% of veterans and their families who previously requested disability benefits for these illnesses had those requests denied. Everything from cans, plastic, and chemicals to human and medical waste was burned off in these burn pits.

This bill’s adoption will benefit hundreds of thousands of Vietnam veterans. It will cover respiratory illnesses, toxic exposures, and disorders brought on by exposure to Agent Orange and high blood pressure. Of the 1.6 million Vietnam veterans still alive, it is predicted that 600,000 will qualify for increased pay due to this exposure.

This law also extends coverage to any veterans who may have previously been exposed to Agent Orange while serving in territorial waters off Guam or American Samoa, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, or Johnston Atoll. The law is anticipated to increase the government debt by about $277 billion over the following decade to address these health conditions, including conditions for burn pits, with service connection.

Organic Solvent Exposure

Victims at Camp Lejeune who drank contaminated water experienced severe health issues. Among those listed were congenital impairments, cancer, leukemia, and other illnesses. Perhaps the exposure to contaminated water caused your Parkinson’s disease or other behavioral issues. If Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water harmed you, get in touch with Agent Orange.Org to learn more about your legal options from one of our supporters who is a personal injury lawyer.

Parkinson’s Disease and Neurobehavioural Symptoms

People who experience neurobehavioral effects typically display mood swings, personality disorders, and memory issues. Such neurobehavioral symptoms may also include problems with balance and coordination. (Certain toxic chemicals can impair motor function and cause tremors, ticks, asthma, chronic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, constrictive bronchiolitis, obliterative bronchiolitis, emphysema, granulomatous disease, sarcoidosis, granulomatous disease, interstitial lung disease (ILD), pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis, certain cancers like brain cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, glioblastoma, head cancer, lymphatic cancer, any type lymphoma, melanoma and Parkinson’s disease.)

The following are other signs of neurobehavioral effects:

  • Anxiety\Confusion
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Irritability
  • High blood pressure (also called hypertension)
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
  • Trauma-related stress disorder
  • Insomnia and other issues

Is There a Relationship Between Neurobehavioural Affects and the Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides compensation benefits for all veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune during the 1950s and 1980s because, according to the CDC, there is a connection between drinking water at Camp Lejeune and neurobehavioral consequences.

Four distinct toxins were discovered in Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water after a sample was taken by experts, which include:

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Perchloroethylene (PCE)
  • Benzene
  • Vinyl chloride.

It was discovered through additional research on populations exposed that low-dose exposure to TCE could cause neurobehavioral deficits. In Camp Lejeune, TCE, PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride contamination levels were higher than permitted levels.

What’s astonishing is that, on training days, the Marines and other military commanders took two liters of Camp Lejeune water in their twice-a-day showers. At Camp Lejeune, exposure to organic solvents also affected the local community, which included nearby residences, hospitals, and schools.

In 2011, Storm et al. conducted a study examining the effects of PCE and other pollutants on adults and children. The results showed that children exposed to PCE had less visual contrast sensitivity in their eyes than those without. The exposed and unexposed subjects were from the same geographic area.

However, more research is required to determine how PCE, TCE, and other chemical solvents affect adults and children. The psychological and psychosocial effects of such exposures weren’t examined in any studies.

How to Qualify for VA Compensation

The VA has declared that it will cover all military officers and their families who live and reside in Camp Lejeune for out-of-pocket medical expenses related to neurobehavioral consequences.

You may be entitled to compensation if you or a family member experiences neurobehavioral consequences. To be eligible, you must provide:

  • Military records showing your time spent in Camp Lejeune.
  • Having a relative who resided at Camp Lejeune can document your relationship with a veteran.
  • Families must present tax information, utility bills, or other documentation proving they live at Camp Lejeune.
  • Medical records prove chemical exposure has an impact on neurobehavioral functions.
  • Medical bills or other documentation of the costs incurred to treat neurobehavioral effects.

Our member or supporting personal injury lawyers at AgentOrange.Org are experienced in submitting and managing VA disability claims. You can get assistance from our team of volunteers as you proceed through the legal steps of making a Veterans Affairs disability compensation claim.

How Dangerous Is Agent Orange Exposure?

After exposure, the Dioxin pollutant known as TCDD has negative short- and long-term impacts on human health. Dioxin would linger for years in the soil, river sediments, and food chain after being sprayed into the environment. Essentially, the pesticide spray harmed birds, mammals, and other species and impacted people who ate contaminated food and ingested Dioxin.

Dioxin is universally acknowledged as a carcinogen, an agent that causes cancer, and experiments on lab animals have shown that it is very toxic, even in small doses. Short-term exposure to the harmful pesticide led to skin darkening, liver issues, and chloracne, a severe form of acne. Additional research revealed a connection between the carcinogen and type II diabetes, heart disease, immune system issues, and other complications.

When Will Benefits Arrive?

Separate from the congressional study, the VA started reformulating its approach to illnesses thought to be caused by fire pit smoke in locations like Iraq and Afghanistan last year.

Before providing presumptive status for disorders considered connected to military service in the past, the department strictly adhered to scientific evidence. The agency now evaluates the allegations using a more comprehensive range of indicators, resulting in the addition of 12 cancers and respiratory illnesses to the list of conditions thought to be brought on by fire pits.

Veterans’ groups believe that codifying these new processes when the PACT Act becomes law will be crucial in the years to come in avoiding lengthy delays for department recognition of military injuries.

How Do I Receive These PACT Act-Related Benefits?

The VA encourages anybody who thinks they might be eligible for benefits and care under the PACT Act to file a claim. Veterans can receive free assistance from American Legion Department Service Officers (DSOs) with their Veterans Affairs claims.

Furthermore, the American Legion provides DSO training for qualified, accredited American Legion representatives at the state, county, and regional levels. These representatives may give specialized assistance to all veterans and their families with VA claims and benefits.

NDVS Can Assist in Connecting Earned Benefits for Veterans

If you visit the VA’s page on the PACT Act and have received a diagnosis for one of the mentioned conditions or are displaying signs of it, we want to encourage you to talk to your doctor and a service officer about these health issues.

In addition, while you choose whether to submit a claim for a VA Disability Rating, we strongly advise you to keep in mind the three factors that make up a VA Rating:

  • That the sickness has now had an impact on your life in some way
  • That you either have this condition and are being treated for it or have had this condition identified
  • Because it relates to a specific military-related incident or injury

The VA will research the accessibility and availability of VA health care to veterans and conduct toxic exposure screening for every veteran enrolled in VA health care.

Contact Us Today!

Agent Orange Foundation is looking for methods to grant veterans the freedom to choose any attorney they choose, not just one who practices in South Carolina. The AOF wants to give Marines who have served in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan the same protections on West Coast military bases. These men and women did their duty, and they deserve better. We should expect more from our elected officials to develop infrastructure programs after ruining the lives and health of many vets acting in defense of our established values.

Direct financial assistance must be given to the family’s victims and veterans exposed to burn pits and toxins like benzene. Do you have Parkinson’s disease or another cancer related to your military service? To assist qualifying veterans and surviving families across the US, we can provide victims with case-managed social services, explain medical care, and provide financial support through grants. Find out more about these items and enrollment into this historic program now, as the window to make a claim and sue is closing.


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