More Than 2,000 NH Veterans Have Filed Claims and More Than 1,200 Veterans Have Enrolled in VA Health Care
WASHINGTON – Today at a U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, Senator Maggie Hassan highlighted how more New Hampshire veterans are accessing VA health care benefits under the PACT Act, which she and her colleagues successfully worked to pass into law last year. The law fundamentally reforms and improves how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive health care and benefits from the VA.
To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.
“I also wanted to just start my questions by thanking you for all of your discussion of, and talking about, the PACT Act. I’m glad we were able to pass it last summer,” said Senator Hassan. “More veterans [are] accessing more benefits that they have earned and deserved. In New Hampshire alone, since the passage of the PACT Act, veterans have already filed more than 2,000 PACT Act-related claims, and more than 1,200 veterans have enrolled in VA health care.”
After thanking Tanya J. Bradsher, the nomination to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, for meeting with her recently to discuss the challenges that New Hampshire is facing with the Manchester VA Medical Center’s aging infrastructure, Senator Hassan asked how she will ensure that all veterans are able to access their health care and benefits under the PACT Act.
Bradsher shared that the VA must get creative in its outreach to veterans, for example by partnering with Peloton or women’s magazines, to share how PACT Act benefits will help them.
Senator Hassan then discussed the unique barriers that women veterans face in accessing VA health care and benefits, and shared how women veterans who served on Cultural Support Teams in Afghanistan, for example, have faced challenges in getting their injuries recognized by the VA.
In addition, Senator Hassan emphasized the importance of supporting service members as they transition to civilian life. Last year, President Biden signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Hassan to strengthen the Solid Start program, through which VA employees contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty service to check in and help connect these new veterans to VA programs and benefits.
When asked about how she will support veterans during their transition, Bradsher shared that she will work with the VA, Department of Labor, and Department of Defense to create one-stop shopping for veterans’ benefits.