WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan discussed the importance of the PACT Act and the work ahead to ensure that it benefits as many veterans as possible during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing today. The law fundamentally reforms and improves how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive health care and benefits from the VA. Senator Hassan helped develop and pass the bipartisan bill, which was signed into law nearly one year ago.
To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning click here.
Senator Hassan opened her questioning with remarks about the PACT Act, saying, “I was really proud to work with everyone here on a bipartisan basis to develop and pass the PACT Act into law. And it’s already helped over 1,000 New Hampshire veterans enroll in VA health care and file more than 2,000 disability claims. I’m excited by that progress but obviously we have more progress to make.”
Turning to ways to strengthen implementation of the critical law, Senator Hassan shared the difficulty that veteran Ed McCabe of Dover had in joining the VA’s burn pits registry. McCabe is a 100%-disabled combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who was exposed to burn pits at his air base in Iraq. He had difficulty joining the registry because of technical problems on the VA’s website.
Senator Hassan asked witnesses about how they can ensure that the updates the VA is making to the burn pits registry will be more user-friendly so that veterans like Ed can more easily register.
Senator Hassan also asked about what the VA is doing to ensure that veterans can get disability medical exam appointments closer to home, and she asked for an update on studies that the VA is conducting about service members’ health for those who have been exposed to PFAS.
Veterans can contact visit va.gov/pact or call the VA at 800-698-2411 to learn about the new benefits they may be eligible for.