Mr. Scullin is newly eligible for benefits thanks to the PACT Act, which President Biden signed into law in August
Washington, DC – Army and Rhode Island National Guard veteran Vance Scullin tomorrow evening will join President Biden’s State of the Union address as the guest of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Mr. Scullin, a resident of Woonsocket, is newly eligible for medical benefits thanks to the passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, which President Biden signed into law in August.
“It is a privilege to be joined by Mr. Scullin for President Biden’s State of the Union address. Our state and our country are deeply grateful for Mr. Scullin’s service,” said Whitehouse. “The PACT Act was a significant step forward in honoring America’s sacred commitment to ensure veterans like Mr. Scullin – who have given so much to the nation – are treated with the dignity they have earned many times over.”
Whitehouse will meet with Mr. Scullin in the Senator’s Washington office before they head to the House chamber for the State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
“I consider it an honor to attend the State of the Union address,” said Mr. Scullin. “It is a once in a lifetime event for me.”
Mr. Scullin served on active duty with the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1985 in the infantry. Upon returning to Rhode Island in 1986, he joined the Rhode Island National Guard and served with the 119th Military Police, which has since been consolidated into the 169th Military Police Company that operates out of the Warwick Armory. In 1991, Mr. Scullin deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Desert Storm. Mr. Scullin left the Rhode Island National Guard in 1994 with the rank of Sergeant. Mr. Scullin has pending claims related to environmental exposures during the Gulf War that were recently made presumptive by the passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act.
Whitehouse supported the Honoring Our PACT Act, which greatly expanded eligibility for VA health care to veterans who have health problems due to exposure to toxins ranging from burn pits to Agent Orange. The legislation ultimately passed with bipartisan support over the summer after initially being voted down by Senate Republicans.
The PACT Act also extended VA healthcare for combat veterans to ten years after they separate from service, and added new presumptive service-connected conditions eligible for compensation benefits. The legislation equipped the VA with significant resources to meet the new demands.
Since 9/11, as many as 3.5 million veterans – including tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders – have been exposed to toxins in the line of duty. Many were denied VA benefits prior to the passage of the PACT Act due to outdated rules and bureaucratic red tape.
Rhode Islanders with questions about eligibility for PACT Act benefits should contact Whitehouse’s office at (401) 453-5294.