potentially changing the lives of veterans – Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas 2022-08-05 23:07:48 –

Wichita, Kansas (KSNW) — Commitment to Address Comprehensive Toxicity (PACT) Act Expand medical and disability benefits for 3.5 million veterans if President Biden signs into law. Specifically, it helps combat illnesses believed to be associated with exposure to toxic burn pits.

Marine Corps veteran Eric Johnson served eight years. He has deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He says a burn pit was standard.

“I was in a fire pit throwing garbage in there,” Johnson said. “They just dig a hole in the middle of the sand and throw everything they don’t need in there. And all the smoke is built right there in your living area.”

Johnson has since suffered from a sinus condition, but he says he’s one of the lucky vets who have all their health care fully covered by the Veterans Affairs (VA). He said many veterans are not covered and getting treatment can be an uphill battle.

“If you don’t have anything left on your hospital medical file, my understanding is that I’m not 100% sure if this is, but if you don’t get a claim in the first 10 years, your chances of getting a claim aren’t very high. No,” Johnson added.

The PACT Act will change that by extending care entitlements to veterans exposed to toxic substances in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the post-9/11 era.

“They’ll be able to tie that event directly. They won’t have to fight the VA on it. So I think it’s great for veterans,” Johnson concluded.

President Biden plans to sign the bill sometime next week.

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