KBZK: Eligible veterans urged to sign up for PACT Act benefits at Bozeman event

by Hevenn Vanh

Senator Jon Tester was in Bozeman on Friday, speaking alongside veterans about how the 2022 PACT Act has provided long overdue benefits to toxically exposed veterans.

“No one expects to be in southern Afghanistan and then 10 years later, sitting on an emergency table having something cut out of you because of what happened,” said Ryan Gummer, Marine Corps Veteran and PACT recipient.

The PACT Act is the largest expansion of veterans healthcare in the history of the VA. And since being signed into law in 2022, it has resulted in more than 1.3 million claims filed nationwide.

“The PACT Act is a game changer, and the only way veterans can be eligible is if they sign up,” said Sen. Tester.

Recipients have advocated heavily for the act, hoping more veterans and their families will get tested and take advantage of these benefits.

“What I want to say to any veteran listening today, is to take the time to make that investment in yourself. I know it’s scary, and it can be frustrating at times, but there are very caring people waiting for you,” said Joseph Schumacher, Army veteran.

“It’s a way for our kids to still have a future that their parents died to give them,” said Nicole Kardoes, spouse of 23-year Air Force pilot Michael Kardoes, who died of cancer after exposure to toxic burn pits.

 For more information on the PACT Act and how to file, visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website.