AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - The PACT Act is a law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. 

It’s meant to provide them and their families with care, even after serving their country.

“We are hosting the VA PACT Act at Augusta Technical College where we are inviting thousands of Veterans and families out to get the benefits that they've earned and deserve,” said Scott Johnson, Founder, CEO and President of The Warrior Alliance.

The Atlanta Department of Veteran Affairs along with Augusta VA and The Warrior Alliance teamed up at Augusta Technical College Friday, to hold an outreach and help local veterans file their claims.

“We receive all different types of claims. All different types of cases. We may actually have a simple case that they just want to make sure their claim was filed correctly. We have a more complex case from a Vietnam Veteran that comes in and says he filed a claim before and it has been years since he received any information, so he wants to know what's going on,” said Yolanda Gibson, Atlanta Department of Veteran Affairs.

The turnout was more than expected for the organizers. 

“I know we were expecting over 500 veterans today and from what I see we are going to meet that number or more. So we are excited about all the Veterans who have come out today,” said  Gibson.

We got the opportunity to speak with some of the veterans at the event, and for Army Veteran Samuel Young, he walked out feeling accomplished.

“I had the chance to fill out for the pact. I put in some of the things that I went through when I was in the service and stuff like that, that I didn't think mattered. I have a disease that runs in the family of Parkinson and I filed for that today,” said Samuel Young, Army Veteran.

Calvin Wilson, a Purple Heart Army Veteran encourages other veterans to get the help they need.

“I would encourage you to reach out to your VA representative or reach out to the crisis center or even the alliance. They will help you fill out the paperwork and really understand it so it won't be a burden for you,” said Calvin Wilson, Purple Heart Army Veteran.

And if you have filed for your VA benefits before and it didn't work out the first time, with the new laws in place, it may be easier to gain the benefits. 

“These laws were put into place to expedite and streamline your VA benefits process. So don't assume that it did not go well several years ago. That's the case. There is a new process and new capabilities in place to expedite that. So do not give up,” said Johnson.

For more on how to apply for these benefits, contact your local VA office. 

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