© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health, Science & Environment

All veterans exposed to hazards now eligible for VA health care

photo at sunset of the dayton va medical center building, with the outside lights on as the sky gets dark.
Dayton VA Medical Center
The Dayton VA Medical Center main campus is in Dayton.

All veterans exposed to toxins or other hazards are now eligible to enroll for VA health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced.

Starting March 5, veterans who were exposed to chemicals, pesticides, lead, asbestos, certain paints, nuclear weapons, x-rays and more while serving at home or abroad may take part in VA health care.

This update includes all vets who served in the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other combat zone after 9/11.

This expansion of health care comes after the VA eliminated an eligibility phase-in called for by the PACT Act.

Jennifer DeFrancesco, director at the Dayton VA Medical Center, said she encourages all veterans to learn more about their eligibility.

“If you have a DD214, please come here, get your toxic exposure screening," DeFrancesco said. "Make sure that you're in the system and you get it documented. You may be eligible for benefits that are health care and potentially beyond and you're entitled to those."

Millions of veterans are now eligible for VA health care up to eight years earlier than the original law proposed.

DeFrancesco said since the March 5 kick-off, the Dayton VA Medical Center has enrolled more than 150 new veterans for health care.

Eligible veterans cansign up online, by phone, mail, or in person at the Dayton VA or the closest VA medical center.

Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.