Louisville, KY - As a part of a nationwide week of PACT Act awareness events from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Robley Rex VA Medical Center (VAMC) recently welcomed Veterans, family members and caregivers from across the region seeking more information on the newly cemented law.
Over 130 Veterans attended Tuesday’s event, where they had the opportunity to speak with hospital leadership, enroll for benefits, file a claim with the Veterans Benefits Administration and be screened for conditions under the PACT Act. The historic new law expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. Veterans spanning the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-911 eras benefit from over 20 new presumptive conditions that are now covered under the law.
“The response from our Veterans for the event was overwhelming,” Robley Rex VAMC Chief of Staff Dr. Paul Sklena stated. “It’s clear that our Veterans community wants to know more about this critical new law and getting the word out regarding these benefits is imperative. Our Veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and the time has finally come for them to receive the health care that is owed to them.”
Passed in July, the PACT Act represents the largest expansion of VA benefits since the Post-9/11 GI Bill was enacted in 2008. Officially titled the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act,” the law represents years’ worth of lobbying from Veterans and advocates to properly address burn pit exposures for an estimated 3.5 million affected Veterans.
Thus far, roughly 1,100 claims have been submitted locally under the PACT Act. Since the summer, more than 176,000 Veterans nationally have applied for VA benefits while officials expect this number to approach 500,000.
Veterans who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s event are encouraged to speak to their primary care provider about getting screened. They can also visit www.VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MY-VA-411 for more information.