Every year on the Fourth of July we celebrate our freedom. The barbecues and the fireworks, the parades and the flags, it’s been a favorite holiday of mine since I was a little girl.
As an adult, I always make sure to take some time during the day to reflect.
I think about how, from the very beginning, our country has been a work in progress. How the promise of a “more perfect union” has never been a guarantee, but a project that’s been handed to us by the previous generation.
So many Americans before us have made sacrifices so we can enjoy the freedoms that we celebrate on Independence Day. That includes our nation’s veterans, who have paid a uniquely high cost.
We have a responsibility to provide the men and women who have served our country with the very best care when they come home. No veteran who bears the true cost of war should have to worry about getting the care they need to treat their wounds – physical or mental.
Providing that care is our sacred promise, and the PACT Act honors it.
“Thanks to the PACT Act, if a veteran’s illness is on the greatly expanded list of presumptive conditions and they meet the service requirements, then they qualify for care and benefits.”— U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, R-Naperville
This historic new law makes sure that millions more veterans are eligible for the health care and benefits they’ve earned through their service to our country.
On Aug. 10, 2022, the day President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law, 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to toxic substances immediately became eligible for medical care at VA facilities. We made sure that whether a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange in the jungles of Vietnam, or to a burn pit in Iraq or Afghanistan, they can get the help they need.
It’s the most significant expansion of benefits and services to veterans exposed to toxic substances in more than three decades.
Thanks to the PACT Act, if a veteran’s illness is on the greatly expanded list of presumptive conditions and they meet the service requirements, then they qualify for care and benefits.
I fought for this legislation because we owe our veterans everything, and I’m committed to making sure that every single veteran in our community who is eligible for these benefits receives the care that they need and have earned.
There is nothing more patriotic than making sure our veterans are supported and cared for, and I will always fight for that support, on the Fourth of July, and every day.
If you think you may eligible for benefits in the PACT Act, visit my website at underwood.house.gov for assistance, or apply directly through the VA at va.gov/resources/the-pact-act-and-your-va-benefits.
• U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, represents Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.