The Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding health-care eligibility to veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while training or on active duty — at home or abroad — without needing to apply for VA benefits first.

This expansion includes veterans who never deployed, as well as veterans who served the United States in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, and other combat zones since 9/11.

Specifically, any veteran who never deployed but engaged in a toxic exposure risk activity — which features one or more of the following conditions: air pollutants, chemicals, occupational hazards, radiation, warfare agents, and more — is eligible.

“If you’re a Veteran who may have been exposed to toxins or hazards while serving our country, at home or abroad, we want you to come to us for the health care you deserve,” said VA secretary Denis McDonough in a press release.

President Joe Biden approved the PACT Act on Aug. 10, 2022, with over 15,994 veterans in Pennsylvania enrolling in VA health care. This expansion makes millions of veterans eligible to do the same up to eight years earlier than previously allowed.

According to the release from the Lebanon VA Medical Center, this expansion is “a critical step forward” because veterans enrolled in VA health care have better health outcomes than those who aren’t. VA health care has also received higher quality and patient satisfaction ratings and is more affordable compared to non-VA health care, the VA said.

“We are here for you. This is something you have earned through your selfless service. No matter what branch of the military you were in or what era you were a part of, VA is here for you,” said Lebanon VA Medical Center director Jeffrey A. Beiler II in the release. “Come see why so many veterans choose and trust VA with their health care.”

Eligible veterans can visit or call 1-800-MYVA411 to learn more and apply for VA health care today.

LebTown used artificial intelligence to help create/edit this article. As with every LebTown article, the text was reviewed carefully by multiple (human) staff members before publication. Any mistakes are entirely our own.

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