EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – American soldiers returning home from combat have long had issues related to exposure to toxic substances. Local veterans met tonight to get answers on a new law that could expand their healthcare.

The town hall was held at VFW Post #1114, to spread word about landmark legislation that will affect thousands of veterans across the Tri-state: The P.A.C.T. Act.

“We’re excited to get here to get the word out about this new pact act. This pact act is really important, it expands benefits to veterans both medical and monetary benefits,” says Michael Stephens, Director of VA Regional Office Indianapolis.

The new law is the largest healthcare and benefit expansion in VA history. The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act adds more than twenty qualifying conditions for eligible veterans.

Specifically, those who served bravely working with burn pits and Agent Orange, as well as
hazardous toxins in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and post-9/11 deployment eras,

“This legislation does not have an expiration date, so veterans can file a claim at any time for benefits under the pact act. It is important that they file within a year of August 10th so that we can go back to the date of the law,” says Stephens.

The changes come after years of lobbying on both sides to figure out how best to ensure the health of veterans who were exposed to toxic and otherwise carcinogenic chemicals during their tours of duty. The new expansion will hopefully bring an awareness of the resources available for veterans who qualify.

“The VA is taking care of me – I’ve been very, very happen with how they’ve been dealing with me. It’s up to the VA to do that; to help them (veterans) come back to the united states and back to a normal existence,” said Tim Mahone, a veteran of the Korean War.

Qualifying veterans just need to file a claim, and contact their local VA for more information.