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PACT Act expands to help veterans with toxic exposure

PACT Act expands to help veterans with toxic exposure

Source: Canva

July 10, 2024 7:49 AM CDT
By: Lisa M. Hale

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GREEN BAY, WI – (WISS & WGBW) – The PACT Act is a law that expanded health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances. On March 5, 2024, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded the reach of the PACT Act. Joe Aulik, Director of Veterans Services for Brown County said that expansion will help veterans affected by toxic exposure.

“They’ve opened it up to all toxic exposure in the military. I’ll share an example with you. An aircraft mechanic in the Air Force working with Air Force parts and cleaning chemicals ended up with tumors on the kidney. And they service-connected that,” said Aulik.

Prior to the expansion, Aulik said the VA wouldn’t bring veterans in and make an opinion on the toxic exposure. Now, the VA creates a toxic exposure memo with every claim filed by the PACT Act. They look at the service history and the potential for toxic exposure. Doctors will examine the veteran and decide if a condition is connected to service in the military.

“Whether it’s asbestos exposure, chemical exposure, weed killer exposure if you have a condition, potentially it can be tied to military service,” said Aulik. “So I’m filing claims I would have never filed before.”

Aulik said that just like workman’s compensation protects workers injured on the job, military veterans can also be due compensation.

“Serving your country is one thing,” Aulik said. “But getting injured while serving your country is another thing. It’s like workman’s compensation. I am working for an employer. I get injured on the job. They have to compensate me for that.”

The Brown County Office of Veterans Services connects veterans and the services available to them in Wisconsin and in Brown County. For information about Veterans Services in Brown County call (920) 448-4450.

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