Broome County Veteran Service Officer comments on burn pit legislation
(WBNG) -- On March 3, the House of Representatives passed the “Honoring Our Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxics Act Of 2021.”
The bill is now on the way to the Senate to be voted on.
According to Broome County Veteran Service Officer Brian Vojtisek, the Honoring Our PACT Act will have two major elements.
Vojtisek said the act will allow for 3.5 million veterans to receive health care benefits for being exposed to burn pits and other airborne toxins. It will also add 26 medical conditions as presumptive conditions for compensation purposes, he noted.
Vojtisek said these will streamline the process for veterans who applying for benefits.
He said the legislation will have a long way to go and there is a possiblity of it being watered down or stalled in the committee.
As of March 17, he said there are only three conditions tied to airborne toxins and burn pits that will lead to V.A. compensation. Those conditions are rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma.
Vojtisek recommended that if veterans feel like they have experienced disabilities or illnesses due to burn pits or airborne toxins they should reach out to the V.A. or V.S.
Veterans can get enrolled in a health care registry in an attempt to get benefits. They can do this by going to VA.gov and register online.
If a veteran is currently a patient in the V.A. health care system they can ask their V.A. provider for a referal to the specialty clinic.