North Carolina veteran’s wife grateful for signing of PACT Act
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - President Biden signed a bipartisan bill Wednesday the White House is calling the most significant expansion of benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits in more than 30 years.
Veterans suffering from illnesses related to burn pits and other toxins have struggled to get the care they need covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. President Biden said he is hoping to put an end to that by signing the PACT Act.
“The PACT Act is the least we can do for the countless men and women... who suffered toxic exposure while serving their country,” said Biden.
The president signing the PACT Act Wednesday means the more than 3.5 million veterans that have been exposed to some form of toxins can apply for immediate care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The most important thing is let’s validate their work. The next thing is let’s get to work on executing this. That’s how we’re thinking about it,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
One of the highlights of the bill includes the VA no longer requiring vets and their families to prove their illnesses came from exposure to get covered.
“You can focus on your care, caring for your loved ones, spending time with them and not worrying about paperwork and trying to prove where your cancer came from,” said Amanda Barbosa.
Barbosa, a veteran, has been an advocating for a law like the PACT Act for years. Her husband Rafael, a 23-year army vet, is battling stage four colon cancer after being exposed to burn pits. She came to the White House Wednesday with her 13-year-old son Walker.
“It makes me realize like what I’ve gone through, you know, other kids aren’t going to have to. And that’s the greatest thing I can feel,” said Walker.
Any veteran who has been exposed can now file a claim at VA.gov/PACT. President Biden said signing the PACT Act is a sacred obligation to both the troops we send into harm’s way and their families when they return home.
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