Armed Forces News

The bill would add maladies to the list of those associated with exposure to burn pit fumes. DifferR/Shutterstock.com.

Veterans who are sick because they were exposed to toxins while on active duty would be eligible for treatment and benefits, under identical bipartisan bills now pending before the Senate and House.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 would:

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• Expand health-care eligibility to more than 3.5 million veterans who served since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and were subsequently exposed to toxins.

• Make it easier for these veterans to receive a presumption of service connection due to their exposure.

• Add 23 more related maladies to the list of those related to sicknesses caused by exposure to burn pits and other toxins, including hypertension.

• Veterans who served in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll and became sick because of exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange would be granted presumption of service connection for their illnesses.

• More resources would be provided for federal research into the effects of toxic exposure.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs would receive more resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans.

• VA would be better-equipped to handle these new cases. The department would receive investments in claims processing, workforce and healthcare facilities.
Both bills are headed to floor votes. The White House has expressed support, meaning President Biden likely would sign the measure into law when it reaches his desk.

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