Rep. Vella-Wilkinson to host State House event to brief veterans on passage of federal PACT Act


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) will host an event kicking off a series of briefings to inform veterans of their benefits under the federal Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) Act, which greatly expands eligibility for Veterans Administration health care to veterans who have health problems due to exposure to toxins ranging from burn pits to Agent Orange. 

The event will take place on Flag Day, Wednesday, June 14 at 2 p.m. in the Bell Room on the first floor of the State House, where information about the law will be made available to veterans.

“Rhode Island has had a lion’s share of military men and women deployed during the last 20 years’ War on Terror,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson, a Navy veteran who serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders have been exposed to toxins in the line of duty, and many have been denied VA benefits due to outdated rules. Most of our veterans are unaware of the qualifications or the benefits they are entitled to, and we want to disseminate this information as widely as possible throughout the state.

This summer, Representative Vella-Wilkinson will be organizing a series of training and registration events with members of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Office of Veterans Affairs and the VA on the PACT Act. 

The PACT Act also extends VA healthcare for combat veterans to 10 years after they separate from service, and adds new presumptive service-connected conditions eligible for compensation benefits.  The legislation equips the VA with significant resources to meet the new demands.