Congressman Salud Carbajal joined President Joe Biden at the White House for the signing of the landmark veterans health benefits bill, the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act.
The new law will open health care benefits to over three and a half million veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service and finally consider exposure to burn pits and airborne hazards as a cost of war, addressing the full range of issues impacting toxic-exposed veterans, including access to earned benefits and healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs
“It was my privilege to join President Biden today, alongside veterans and my fellow lawmakers, to see the largest expansion of veterans benefits in decades signed into law,” said Congressman Carbajal in a press release.
Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors can find more information on these new benefits by visiting VA.gov/PACT [va.gov] or by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-MyVA411. PACT Act benefits can be accessed by filing a claim on VA.gov [va.gov].
The Honoring our PACT Act concedes exposure to burn pits and airborne hazards by creating presumptions for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers, shifting the burden of proof off of veterans. If a veteran served in a particular theater at a particular time, they will be presumed to be exposed to toxic substances and therefore potentially eligible for healthcare and benefits.
The bipartisan legislation will also streamline VA’s presumption decision-making process so that Congress does not have to keep intervening, and veterans don’t have to wait decades for help.
Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He co-sponsored this act in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.
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