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Learn about the Veterans Pact Act at claim clinics in Quincy, Portola and Chester

Submitted by Bill Cook

The Pact Act 2022 legislation greatly expanding benefits to Gulf War/Post 911 and Vietnam veterans and their surviving spouses.  This legislation signed into law on August 10, 2022, recognized the serious health implication to the Gulf War/Post 911 veteran cause by their exposure to hazardous air. The legislation also admitted the exposure to Agent Orange and its health consequence to Thailand, Guam, Cambodia, and Laos Vietnam era veterans.

True to form this legislation is complicated and difficult to understand, much less appreciate the vast number of potential benefits it provides for eligible service members and their surviving spouses. To educate and assist county veterans on this legislation and their potential claims, Plumas County Veterans Services is holding evening Claim Clinics in Quincy, Portola, and Chester. The Quincy presentation is scheduled on February 23 at the Quincy Branch Library, Portola on March 23 at the Portola Branch Library, and Chester on April 20 at the Cheater Wellness Center with all Clinic stating at 6p.m.  Light refreshments will be served, and the public is welcome.

A summary of the Act is to break it down into 4 parts. Those parts are (1) Gulf War/Post 911, (2) Vietnam service, (3) Surviving spouses, and (4) VA Healthcare eligibility.

  1. Gulf War/Post 911. Veterans who served in Southwest Asia were exposed to burn pits, toxic air, and soil. Those substances have shown to cause various cancers and respiratory conditions. For a veteran who served during these wars in Southwest Asia who are diagnosed with one of the 12 listed cancers, or one of the 12 listed respiratory illnesses can have that disability rated for VA compensation.
  2. Vietnam War. Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Guam veterans who served in these locations are now conceded by the VA to have been exposed to a toxic herbicide (Agent Orange) and if they have one of the numerous ailments on the Agent Orange list, they are entitled to VA compensation. The ailment list has been expanded by the Act to included hypertension.
  3. Surviving Spouses. There is a large group of surviving spouses who’s former veteran spouse died of a condition then not compensable but now is compensable. If a deceased veteran who would now quality for one of the Pact Act classes of covered service has a surviving spouse, that spouse may be eligible for VA compensation. For example, the death may have occurred 20 years ago long before Thailand airbases  were on the presumed Agent Orange list but today their spouse may be entitled to VA compensation.
  4. VA Healthcare. All Vietnam and Southwest Asia veterans are entitled to VA Healthcare which now included regular toxic exposure screenings.

We hope to see you at one of the clinics.

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