Clinton Twp., MI - Officials with Macomb County Veterans Services will host several town hall events to assist local veterans and their survivors with new benefits available through the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.
The legislation, which was signed into law in August, makes more than 900,000 veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances eligible for VA health care and benefits.
“These are benefits our veterans earned and deserve,” said County Executive Mark Hackel. “But since the PACT Act is so new, we’re hosting these town halls to educate and assist people through the claims process one-on-one. It can be a complex system, but Macomb County Veterans Services is here to help. Because these brave individuals put their lives on the line to protect our country, and here in Macomb, we will never forget that.”
Town halls will be held:
- September 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post 4, 401 North Groesbeck, Mt Clemens, MI 48043
- October 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the AMVETS New Baltimore, 51285 County Line Rd, New Baltimore, MI 48047
- October 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the VFW Post 4659, 8311 Wilson Dr, Shelby Township, MI 48316
- October 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the VFW Post 6756, 25500 Sherwood Ave Warren, MI 48091
Veterans, their families and survivors of veterans from the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraqi War, those stationed at Camp Lejuene NC and/or any veteran exposed to toxic waste or burns pits should attend. The town halls include a presentation, refreshments and the opportunity to work one-on-one with a veterans service officer, who can start and process disability claims. Those looking to start a claim must bring their DD214.
“The PACT Act will make a difference in the lives of millions of veterans and the survivors and families of those who have unfortunately already left us,” said Laura Rios, Chief Veterans Services Officer, Macomb County Veterans Services. “It delivers on the promise we made to our warfighters.”
The PACT Act:
- Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras
- Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
- Requires the VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care
- Helps improve research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures
- Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
These new presumptive conditions for toxic exposure will make health care and benefit processes less burdensome for veterans.
According to the VA: “To get a VA disability rating, your disability must connect to your military service. For many health conditions, you need to prove that your service caused your condition. But for some conditions, we automatically assume (or “presume”) that your service caused your condition….We consider a condition presumptive when it's established by law or regulation. If you have a presumptive condition, you don’t need to prove that your service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption.”
Individuals in need of PACT Act assistance are asked to attend the town hall events or contact Macomb County Veterans Services at 586-469-5315.