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Senator Hassan, American Legion Encourage Veterans to Enroll in VA Benefits at Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) encouraged veterans to enroll in VA benefits at a Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs today with Daniel J. Seehafer, National Commander of the American Legion.

To watch Senator Hassan’s hearing questions, click here.

Senator Hassan highlighted last week’s announcement from the VA that veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service are able to enroll in VA health care – years earlier than expected – under the PACT Act, which Senator Hassan helped develop and pass into law.

“Now veterans who were exposed to toxins can go to the VA and enroll in health care and they don’t need to apply for VA benefits first… I was really proud to help develop and pass the PACT Act,” said Senator Hassan. “I want to make sure that our veterans know about the care they’re able to get under it. So I’m speaking out to New Hampshire veterans in particular today. I want to encourage any veteran who may have been exposed to toxins to contact the VA to see if you’re now eligible to enroll in health care.”

Senator Hassan encouraged veterans who may have been exposed to toxic substances to reach out to the VA about health care benefits. Senator Hassan asked Commander Seehafer, “Can you just discuss how important it is that eligible veterans go to the VA, enroll, and get the care and support that they have earned and they deserve?”

“The VA… is the center of care, not just adequate care, but the best,” said Commander Seehafer. “I’ve went to 28 states and 4 countries… and I’ve been to VAs, veterans homes, everywhere. But every time people have come to me, these are your constituents, they have said that care is top notch... We continue to get the word out that this is the place to go.”

Senator Hassan also thanked Commander Seehafer and his colleagues for their leadership on the Buddy Check Week program, which Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill established as a national VA program, modeled off the American Legion’s “Buddy Check National Week of Calling,” to support veterans’ mental health. The Department of Veterans Affairs hosted the first “Buddy Check Week” last October.

Senator Hassan has long led efforts to support veterans. In 2022, Hassan helped develop and pass into law the bipartisan PACT Act, a historic bill that fundamentally reforms and improves how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive health care and benefits from the VA. Since the passage of the law, more than 1,900 New Hampshire veterans have already enrolled in VA health care and more than 4,700 PACT Act-related disability claims have been filed in New Hampshire.