Time running out to sign up for first year PACT Act benefits for veterans

NOW: Time running out to sign up for first year PACT Act benefits for veterans

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Officials with Veteran's Affairs want you to know what benefits may be available to you.

They were at the Milwaukee War Memorial over the weekend to talk to veterans about the PACT Act, or Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act.

They say time is running out to get in on the first year of benefits.

"We are pushing really hard to get veterans, who may be entitled to benefits under the new PACT Act legislation to file before August 10th," said Duane Honeycutt, executive director of the Milwaukee VA Regional Office.

Honeycutt was one of many Veterans Affairs officials out talking to more than 175 veterans over the weekend to tell them about the PACT Act, which went into effect in August of last year.

He says if people who are eligible don't apply before Aug. 10, they could miss out.

"They potentially have a year of back pay or back entitlement, if they apply after August 10th, it'll just be the next month that they'll get paid," explained Honeycutt.

VA officials say the act expands eligibility for health care for vets who were exposed to all sorts of toxins, from the Post 9/11 era, Gulf War and more.

"Veterans who are of the Vietnam era, who were not necessarily in-country, but in the Navy, like Blue Water veterans, now there's a whole list of presumptive illnesses to which they can be service connected and receive compensation," explained William Johnson, Minority Veterans program coordinator.

Honeycutt says for him, benefits from the VA made a world of difference.

Which is why he's encouraging anyone who may be suffering from conditions related to their service to come by the Milwaukee VA Regional office at 5400 West National, reach out to their county veterans service officer or give the VA a call at 1-800-698-2411 to learn more.

"I've seen it, I've worked for VA for 30 years, I've seen these things change people's lives," said Honeycutt.

You can go to VA.gov/PACT to learn more and sign up.

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