Clinton Twp., MI - Officials with Macomb County Veterans Services are asking local veterans and their survivors to contact their office regarding new benefits available through the passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.
The legislation, which was signed into law today by President Joe Biden, will make more than 900,000 veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances eligible for VA health care and benefits.
"Macomb County is proud to be home to more than 44,000 veterans,” said Executive Mark Hackel. “We have always made it a priority to serve those who have served us. Now, with the signing of the PACT Act, our Veterans Services team stands ready to aid servicemen and women in getting the benefits they earned and deserve. These brave individuals put their lives on the line to protect our country, and here in Macomb, we will never forget that."
The PACT Act will:
- Expand and extend eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras
- Add more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
- Require the VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care
- Help improve research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures
- Add 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.”
“These changes in the law expand veterans benefits,” said Laura Rios, Chief Veterans Services Officer, Macomb County Veterans Services. “Instead of waiting years under an appeal with a judge for a disability claim, claims can be expedited and benefits can be paid within months. Veterans and surviving widows and widowers of veterans can reach out to our office to process these claims.”
Interested individuals are asked to contact Macomb County Veterans Services at 586-469-5315 to set up an appointment with a veteran service officer who can discuss the new law, process claims and submit them on the veteran’s behalf.