Veterans suffering from toxic exposure to benefit from legislation

Published by MIKE SIGOV


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on Wednesday told area veterans suffering from toxic exposure they soon won’t have to prove it’s service-related in order to get their health benefits, a change that will result from a bill that he said is about to become law.

“This bill is the most comprehensive expansion of benefits for veterans who faced toxic exposure in our country’s history,” Senator Brown (D., Ohio) said during a visit to Toledo.

“Providing health care and benefits for veterans who suffer from toxic exposure is a cost of going to war,” he said. “If you were exposed to toxins while serving our country, you deserve the benefits you earned. Period. No exceptions.”

Senator Brown spoke to a group of Ohio veterans and media representatives at the Military Order of the Purple Heart Memorial at the Civic Mall downtown. The veterans present said they have been harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes from waste materials — so-called burn pits.

Spearheaded by the senator, the bill — SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 — passed the Senate on June 16 and is expected to pass the House soon and be signed into law, said Dani Carlson, the senator’s deputy communications director.

Daniel Meyer, 38, a Toledo native who is a disabled Air Force veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, said he is very happy with the legislation.

“It's been a long fight... to finally get a presumptive act passed is very, very huge for us,” he said. “I have a lot of friends who have been denied health care and this will help them a lot,” said Mr. Meyer, a medically retired staff sergeant, adding that he was exposed to burn pits in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

In Jan. 2012, Mr. Meyer was invited to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address as an audience member by then-U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democrat. Mr. Meyer had called her office for assistance before the staff sergeant was medically retired Oct. 1, 2011....


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