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What local veterans need to understand about the PACT Act

Hamilton County Veteran Service Officer Chuck Alsobrook discusses the PACT Act
Hamilton County Veteran Service Officer Chuck Alsobrook discusses the PACT Act
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The PACT Act was signed into law in August 2021 and helps veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxins.

This is a giant piece of legislation.

It's the biggest expansion of veterans benefits in decades and will mark a giant expansion for hiring in the VA in both the medical and benefits administrations.

In the Price of Freedom we talked to Hamilton County Veteran Service Officer, Chuck Alsobrook, about what local veterans need to understand about the PACT Act.

The bill was passed by Congress over the summer, and we covered those votes extensively.

The legislation expands the list of illnesses and deployment locations that the VA now considers directly linked to dangerous toxic exposure for U.S. Veterans

"If anybody deployed overseas like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait. There's a whole list of approved locations. They need to explore this for sure," Alsobrook said.

This bill now in effect will provide benefits and healthcare for millions more veterans.

Alsobrook about the expansion he says the VA is in the middle of a giant hiring process to make it all work.

"We've been told through training that they're gonna hire thousands and thousands of people to treat veterans and thousands of people to process claims," Alsobrook said. "So, it's really massive. So right now there's around 9 million veterans in the healthcare system and this could potentially add another 3.5 million."

So with this added workload for the VA what will that mean for your claim?

"People ask me these questions like how long is this gonna take, and there's so many variables that go into that," Alsobrook said. He adds there are always unknowns when a claim is submitted, but the most important factor is the doctor's opinion.

"So, when they are sent to the C&P exams or compensation and pension exams the doctors have most of the power there," Alsobrook said. "So, however they fill out those questionnaires that the VA gives them to fill out is what the raters and the decision review officers have to go off of."

Hamilton County has added another position to the VSO office to help handle the new claims, but we are in early days of this new law as the VA and VSO's like Chuck Alsobrook work to navigate all of the changes.

"When I send in a claim it's 30 to 40 pages and I send in dozens if not hundreds a month, and that's just me. Think of all the VSO's in the state of Tennessee and the United States. So, there are millions of claims being pumped into the VA."

If you are looking for more information is an excellent resource. You can also reach out to the VSO in your county for assistance.

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If you still can't find what you need you can email NewsChannel 9's Josh Roe at

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