Historic PACT Act will expand benefits for thousands of veterans in Washington state
August 5, 2022
Gov. Jay Inslee and leaders from the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs are applauding the U.S. Senate’s passage of the historic PACT Act.
Once signed by President Biden, the PACT Act will expand Veterans Administration health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. This includes the more than 354,000 veterans in Washington state who served during the Vietnam War, Gulf War, and post 9/11 eras. It also adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures.
The bill includes provisions and funding sought by Sen. Patty Murray for a new Veterans Administration clinic in the Tri-Cities area.
“This bill is among the most significant expansions of VA health care benefits in history, and demonstrates our nation’s commitment to our veterans,” Inslee said. “We’re incredibly grateful to those in our congressional delegation who helped make this bill possible.”
“Veterans and families in Washington state can be assured that our benefits specialists and our partners in numerous Veteran Service Organizations are ready to assist with claims preparation and filing,” said WDVA Director Lourdes E. “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos. “If you were exposed to burn pits or had other toxic exposures while on active duty, we want you to reach out so our network can help file your claim.”
“By expanding VA health care eligibility to millions of post-9/11 combat veterans, our partners in the Federal VA will have the ability to provide needed health care to veterans who are suffering now,” said WDVA Deputy Director David Puente, Jr. “Our Vietnam Veteran brothers and sisters can be proud of their advocacy which has led to earlier recognition of presumptive conditions and significantly swifter action than what occurred following the Vietnam War.”
In addition to expanding health care and access to disability compensation, the VA will study the accessibility and availability of health care to veterans and provide toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care.