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PACT act brings major expansion of benefits for veterans

Veterans Updates

The newly enacted PACT act brings with it a major expansion in benefits for veterans with a range of medical conditions that promises to have a huge impact on veterans and surviving spouses.

Here are the significant medical conditions listed in the bill: If you or someone you know served in the Armed Forces and were exposed to Agent Orange or Toxic Smoke/Air in the Gulf, please contact our office to discuss filing a Disability Compensation claim with the VA. If you know of someone who passed from one of these conditions and served in the Armed Forces and was exposed to Agent Orange or Toxic Smoke/Air in the Gulf, please have their next-of-kin contact the veterans service office to discuss filing a Service-Connected Death Compensation claim with the VA.

1. Adds two new presumptive conditions for agent orange exposure; a. High blood pressure (also called hypertension), b. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

2. Adds 5 new locations to the list of agent orange presumptive locations: Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976; Laos from December 1, 1965, through September 30, 1969; Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province from April 16, 1969, through April 30, 1969; Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off of Guam or American Samoa from January 9, 1962, through July 30, 1980; Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972, through September 30, 1977 3. Adds three new response efforts to the list of radiation exposure presumptive locations: Cleanup of Enewetak Atoll, from January 1, 1977, through December 31, 1980; Cleanup of the Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons off the coast of Palomares, Spain, from January 17, 1966, through March 31, 1967; Response to the fire onboard an Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons near Thule Air Force Base in Greenland from January 21, 1968, to September 25, 1968 4. Adds more than 20 burn pit and other toxic exposure presumptive conditions based on the PACT Act. This change expands benefits for Gulf War era and post-9/11 Veterans. These include: Brain cancer; Gastrointestinal cancer of any type; Glioblastoma; Head cancer of any type; Kidney cancer; Lymphatic cancer of any type; Lymphoma of any type; Melanoma; Neck cancer; Pancreatic cancer; Reproductive cancer of any type; Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type of these illnesses are now presumptive; Asthma that was diagnosed after service; Chronic bronchitis; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Chronic rhinitis; Chronic sinusitis; Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis; Emphysema; Granulomatous disease; Interstitial lung disease (ILD); Pleuritis w. Pulmonary fibrosis x. Sarcoidosis In addition, Taylor County is also searching for a new commissioner. The Taylor County Veteran Service Office has both a Committee and Commission. The Commission convenes for the purpose of evaluating and considering financial assistance for individual Veterans. The commissioners MUST be Veterans and have a desire to discern financial need and offer assistance according to commission guidelines. All information is held in strict confidence, and therefore commissioners must demonstrate strong ethics and compassion. We are in need to fill one commissioner position. Please contact our office at 715-748-1488 if you are interested in the position. — Nikki Sherman, Benefits Specialist, Taylor County Veterans Service Office