Veterans learn about legislation, benefits at town hall

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:51 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - People gathered at the Jackie Walorski VA Clinic Wednesday to learn about legislation that could help some veterans.

The PACT Act expands VA health care and benefits for veterans - and their survivors - who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances while serving in the line of duty.

Some conditions include cancer and respiratory issues.

“It does that by creating a whole host, more than 20 new presumptive conditions, where we presume that those conditions are related to service in the Middle East...Requires VA to offer toxic screenings and that is a way that we help a veteran determine if they could benefit under the PACT Act. Go to any VA facility, medical facility and we will offer and conduct one of these toxic screenings,” said Michael Stephens, Director of the VA Regional Office.

If a veteran was previously denied for one of the PACT Act conditions, those with the VA say to come in and reapply for benefits.

“If a veteran applies for benefits within a year of the date that the legislation was enacted, so August 10 of 2022, we can actually grant retroactive benefits back to that day,” said Stephens.