Veterans Benefits Expanding for Those Exposed to Burn Pits

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 9:50 AM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Veterans Benefits are expanding for those dealing with the side effects of toxic burn pits and other exposures. Newssource 8′s Corey Bouchard has the story

Jennifer Bover - Regional Benefit Manager - Veterans Affairs” And it is just monumental for Veterans and their survivors”

Jennifer Bover, the Regional Benefit Manager for the Veterans Affairs is talking about the PACT ACT which was signed into law by president biden in august of last year

Jennifer " It really opens the opprotunity for veterans to recieve benefits from us”

Part of what the PACT ACT does is to make it easier for veterans who were exposed to toxins such as Agent Orange, Radiation, and Burn Pits, to get treatment and compensation for conditions caused by their exposure.

Alicia Collins - VA Maine Healthcare System " anything that Veterans were exposed to during their service time that may have been burned, like jennifer said, certainly the feces, paint, ive heard tires, vehicles, all sorts of things has been burned, so basically if a veteran serving in particular areas, during particular times identifies that they were exposed to burn pits than they can go online, look at the information and see if their service times were captured and they can look at filing a VBA Claim”

When Filing the VBA Claim, veterans will be asked if they have any of the conditions that were known to be caused by exposure to toxins. If the veteran has that condition, it will be presumed to have been caused by the exposure. Unlike with normal VA Claims, where the burden is on the veteran to prove that their condition was connected to their service.

Jennifer” All veterans are eligible to apply for these expanded presumptive conditions, and in fact we are encouraging all veterans and survivors to file their claims now, even if they have a question about their eligability we are encouraging them to file their claim or to contact us”

The PACT Act also enables the VA to conduct research and provide education to veterans and staff about toxic burn pit exposures.

Alicia " From the VHA side we are making sure we are doing a lot to make sure we are screening our veterans to acknowledge their concerns and make sure we address those, especially if they have any questions or medical issues they think might be related to burn pit exposures”

If you have any questions about Benefit Eligibility, either due to the PACT ACT, or not, you are encouraged to go their website VA.GOV or by calling the togus regional office (VBA) at 207-621-6938. Corey Bouchard, NS8