MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The US Department of Veterans Affairs along the Gulf Coast is trying to make sure vets know about new expanded health benefits. It’s an effort to give more access to vets who might be in need of vital care. Recently passed legislation means more veterans could be eligible for benefits they weren’t covered for a year ago.
This past weekend the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic held rare Saturday hours to try and see more vets. This past August marks one year since the PACT Act was signed into law. According to the VA “the new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.” These are issues that may not have been covered a year ago and potentially cover thousands of people who served in some of the country’s most recent conflicts.
“Expands health care to folks that previously weren’t eligible. So maybe folks that did not have a documented service connection or, you know, some type of specific injury that they were rated for. So this covers folks that are served in many different theaters, such as in the Persian Gulf or in Afghanistan,” said Don Wood with the VA at the Mobile office. They’ve held outreach events in Pensacola, Eglin Airforce Base, and Biloxi–but they do have regular hours during the week. They encourage any veteran who may have been exposed to toxic burn pits to see them for a screening and determine eligibility.