Pact Act expansion of approved claims to impact North Carolina veterans

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A law that expands healthcare and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances, has reached a new milestone.

President Biden announced last Tuesday that nearly a million claims from veterans injured in service have been approved through the Pact Act.

The Pact Act is a promise to address comprehensive toxics of 2022 and has now expanded by approving nearly one million claims from veterans injured by toxic exposures during their service.

Terrance Hayes, Veteran Affairs Department Press Secretary says, “This is the largest expansion in healthcare and benefits in VA’s history.”

Hayes told WITN the expansion would affect veterans all over but even here in North Carolina. “In the North Carolina area, we have about 74-thousand or more veterans who have submitted claims and so far, we’ve processed and granted more than 45-thousand.”

Hayes says the act doesn’t just affect veterans both in the present and the future. “You can see how this can really make an impact in veterans everyday families and everyday households. The law is going to impact folks far and beyond. Folks may not be impacted by any health conditions today but they could have some health issues later down the road and it could impact them.”

Kali Hoffman, lead for Blue Star Families’ Combat the Silence campaign is also taking action in helping veterans.

Hoffman told WITN, “The VA knows that mental health and suicide in veterans is an issue of course but they’re giving these organizations money so that they can come up with community-based solutions to solve and combat the rising suicide rates in our military communities.”

Hoffman says any initiative to serve the veteran community is essential. “Veteran initiatives through our organizations, through our politicians, through our community members… the more the merrier. The more people we have that our standing up and fighting for our country, the better and I can back that 100%.”

The one million claims the Pact Act just approved equates to nearly 890 thousand veterans and their surviving family members getting roughly 5.7 billion dollars in health benefits.

For more information on Blue Star Families’ Combat the Silence campaign and the Pact Act expansion, you can visit their websites.