The PACT Act and your VA benefits

From USDVA: Complete Post through this link…

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

The PACT Act adds to the list of health conditions that we assume (or “presume”) are caused by exposure to these substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

This page will help answer your questions about what the PACT Act means for you or your loved ones. You can also call us at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711). And you can file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation or apply for VA health care now.

Whitmer honors Marquette man as U.P. Veteran of the Year

From Daily Press: Complete Post through this link…

Marquette’s James A. Provost was honored as the Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year Thursday at the Upper Peninsula State Fair. Provost received the award in a ceremony with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other dignitaries.

In selecting Provost, the Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year Committee stated he has been an instrumental figure in support of Marquette County veterans and veteran advocacy for many years. He has been helping veterans since his return from service in Vietnam. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1969 with service in Vietnam in 1966.Provost has served as the chairman of the Marquette County Veterans Alliance for the past nine years. His leadership and selfless service have benefited countless veterans and their families across Marquette County and the U.P.He has served on the Marquette County Veterans Affairs Committee for the for the past nine years.

As a committee member he also served as a member of the veteran’s crisis team. Provost was directly responsible for helping displaced and homeless veterans move into new housing, finding solutions to clean unhealthy veteran living accommodations, and spending time with geographically isolated veterans near their end of life. He helped transport at risk veterans to the Tohma, Wisconsin VA Medical Center in support of alcohol and drug related rehabilitation. He has provided guidance and mentorship to countless veterans in support of working on service-connected disability claims and access to VA healthcare.

Gulf War Syndrome Breakthrough? Scientists Say Mysterious Illness Caused by Impaired Mitochondria

By UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Complete Post through this link…

UC San Diego scientists contest longstanding hypothesis about mysterious illness affecting Gulf War veterans, providing first direct evidence that symptoms are driven by impaired mitochondria.

Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a chronic multisymptom health condition affecting one-third of all veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War, most of whom remain afflicted more than 30 years later. Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, diarrhea, insomnia, and cognitive impairment.

The condition is believed to have been triggered by veterans’ exposure to environmental toxins. However, its exact mechanism in the body continues to be debated, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. The prevailing notion is that inflammation is the driving force of the symptoms, as inflammatory markers are modestly higher in affected veterans than in healthy controls. However, a rival hypothesis suggests mitochondria — the energy-producing organelle found in most cells — may be the true source of the symptoms.

In a new study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine put both ideas head-to-head, directly assessing mitochondrial impairment and inflammation in 36 individuals, 19 of whom were veterans with GWI. The findings, published on July 12, 2023, in Scientific Reports, suggest that impaired mitochondrial function, and not inflammation, is the main driver of GWI symptoms and should be the primary target of future clinical interventions.“

This is a radical rethinking of the pathology of GWI,” said corresponding author Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “For veterans who have long struggled to get effective care, this discovery could be a real game changer.”

The PACT Act and your VA benefits

From the VA: Complete Post through this link…

File your PACT Act claim by August 9 to be eligible for backdated benefits

There’s no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits. But if you file your PACT Act claim—or quickly submit your intent to file—by August 9, 2023, you may receive benefits backdated to August 10, 2022. So don’t wait, apply today. 
File a disability claim online
Learn how to submit your intent to file

The PACT Act and your VA benefits

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.The PACT Act adds to the list of health conditions that we assume (or “presume”) are caused by exposure to these substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.This page will help answer your questions about what the PACT Act means for you or your loved ones. You can also call us at 800-698-2411(TTY: 711). And you can file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation or apply for VA health care now.

War’s Echoes: How Childhood Traumas Amplify PTSD Risk for Military Veterans

By IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY: Complete Post through this link…

A recent study shows that military personnel who suffered abuse during childhood are more prone to PTSD when deployed. The research, analyzing 50 peer-reviewed articles, found that both individual and collective traumatic experiences contribute to PTSD risk. The study suggests improving military training and aptitude tests to address these risks.

Service members deployed to conflict zones may be at greater risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder if they were physically, emotionally, or sexually abused in childhood. This, along with other findings from a new study, help clarify how adverse experiences early in life can make people more vulnerable to trauma later on.

Army families said they were swindled. Congress moves to counterpunch.

By Alex Horton: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-cruelty at its worst…

Following a Post report, lawmakers push to toughen oversight of military financial counselors who advise the grief stricken about their life insurance benefits.

Lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would enhance the military’s oversight of financial counselors tasked with helping the survivors of deceased service members, following an outcry from grief-stricken families who alleged they were fleeced out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by an Army employee who exploited them.

The amendment to next year’s defense policy bill has early bipartisan support. It would require financial counselors employed by the Defense Department to submit records verifying they have no conflicts of interest or stand to improperly benefit from their position when they are hired, and then submit similar documentation annually. Presently, such vetting relies mostly on an honor system.

The push from Capitol Hill follows a Washington Post report in February detailing the allegations of four military families who said an Army financial counselor took control of their life insurance money through brokerage firms where he also was employed. They accused him of strip-mining their accounts through trades that earned him thousands of dollars in commissions, often executed, the families alleged, without their consent or consultation.

Slotkin proposes expanded counseling for military families

by: Wells Foster: Complete Post through this link…

Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-07) is looking to expand mental health services for military families.

Slotkin, a former CIA analyst, introduced the Comforting Our Families through On-base or Remote Treatment (COMFORT) Act, which would allow military counselors to work outside of the state where they are licensed.

“When our men and women in uniform sign up to serve, we make a promise to take care of them and their families,” said Slotkin in a statement. “It’s not easy being a service family – everything from frequent moves to long deployments can put plenty of stress on children and spouses. This legislation cuts red tape to expand options for counseling and mental health services, so our military families can get the support they need.”

Longitudinal follow-up of the randomized controlled trial of access to the trauma-focused self-management app PTSD coach

By Ida Hensler , Josefin Sveen a, Martin Cernvall , Filip K. Arnberg : Complete Post through this link…


  • •Access to PTSD Coach decreased symptoms of psychological and physical illness.
  • •Access to PTSD Coach led to decreased functional disability.
  • •Improvements after access to PTSD Coach were maintained up to 9 months.

Among the 179 trauma-exposed adults (92 % women) randomized to instant access or delayed access to PTSD Coach, symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, somatic illness and functional disability decreased and were maintained within 3 to 9 months of app access. Posttraumatic stress continued to improve during follow-up. PTSD Coach was considered slightly to moderately helpful and satisfactory and 43 % reported any negative effect related to using the app. PTSD Coach is an effective self-management intervention for trauma-related distress. Future research should investigate mechanisms of change, as well as individual characteristics that predict symptom reduction after access to PTSD Coach in order to inform clinical practice.

Survivors of Vets Who Died from PACT Act Illnesses Can Reapply for Benefits

By Amanda Miller: Complete Post through this link…

Dependent family members of veterans who died from illnesses covered by the PACT Act may reapply for survivor’s benefits if they’ve had a claim denied in the past.

The PACT Act dramatically expanded benefits to veterans and survivors by adding to the list of diseases that the agency acknowledges are service-connected. President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law Aug. 10, 2022, and it took effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday a proposed rule specifying the effective date of any renewed claim.

By automatically accepting that about two dozen more diseases are service-connected and adding to the list of presumptive illnesses for Agent Orange exposure, the act gave millions of veterans who were exposed to radiation and toxic chemicals while in uniform, going back to the 1960s, the opportunity for benefits.

The act also required that the VA give survivors who were previously denied those benefits another chance to apply for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). The program provides compensation to dependents of service members who died in the line of duty or from a service-connected disease or injury.

These women survived combat. Then they had to fight for health care.

By Hope Hodge Seck: Complete Post through this link…

The Jax Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the House, seeks to acknowledge women’s combat service on secretive missions in Afghanistan.

Years before U.S. military women were formally authorized to hold ground-combat jobs, Jaclyn “Jax” Scott was conducting nighttime raids with Special Operations personnel in northern Afghanistan.

They’d kick in doors, Scott said, and she’d enter Afghans’ homes directly behind the breachers, identify any women and children, and marshal them to a safe space for questioning. In Afghanistan’s conservative culture, her presence was intended to be a message of good faith to villagers frightened by the sight of armed American troops.

Male colleagues seldom saw it that way, Scott said, recalling what she and other women assigned to these cultural support teams, or CSTs, said was routine hostility from the Army Rangers and Green Berets with whom they were partnered. “Before they would go on missions,” she said, “they looked at us and they’d be like, ‘I unfortunately have to take one of you, which means I have to get rid of a shooter.’ And I’m like, ‘We can shoot.’”

For many of these women, the reception back home felt equally discriminatory. In 2013, when Scott returned from consecutive deployments, she bore the scars of combat: a brain injury from concussive grenade blasts, and back, neck and shoulder ailments owed to heavy falls. When she sought treatment for post traumatic stress, the Army doctor laughed at her, Scott said. He prescribed sleep aids for jet lag instead.