The core of the veterans bill would make servicemembers who contracted any of 23 conditions — from brain cancer to hypertension — after being deployed to an Iraq or Afghanistan combat zone automatically eligible for veterans health care and disability benefits. That’s a change from current law, which requires veterans to prove their illnesses were a direct result of their deployments rather than some other factor.RollCall.com
@VFW_OfficeDC says, “The House plans to take up the Honoring Our PACT Act today, fixing a procedural issue and moving it forward. The Senate will then need to pass the bill again. Read more about the next steps for the PACT Act.”
Honoring our PACT Act of 2021
Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act of 2021
Passed House (03/03/2022)
This bill addresses health care, the presumption of service connection, research, resources, and other matters related to veterans exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The bill provides eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care, including mental health services and counseling, to veterans who (1) participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (a qualifying activity that requires a corresponding entry in an exposure tracking record system), (2) served in specified locations on specified dates, or (3) deployed in support of a specified contingency operation.
The bill establishes the Formal Advisory Committee on Toxic Exposure to assist with the various procedures in establishing or removing presumptions of service connection.
The bill modifies or establishes the presumption of service connection for certain conditions or purposes for various veterans groups
Among other requirements, the VA must
- provide a veteran with a medical examination regarding the nexus between a disability and toxic exposure risk activity if a veteran submits a disability compensation claim for a service-connected disability with insufficient evidence,
- incorporate a clinical questionnaire to help determine potential toxic exposures as part of the initial screening conducted for veterans with a VA primary care provider, and
- establish a registry for current or past members of the Armed Forces who may have been exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances due to the environmental release of aqueous film-forming foam at a Department of Defense location.
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