The US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration has announced that all Veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military — at home or abroad — will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care beginning March 5, 2024. This means that all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11 will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. Additionally, Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty in the United States will also be eligible to enroll.

This expansion of VA health care eliminates the phased-in approach called for by the PACT Act — meaning that millions of Veterans are becoming eligible for VA health care up to eight years earlier than written into law. This is a critical step forward because Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than non-enrolled Veterans, and VA hospitals have dramatically outperformed non-VA hospitals in overall quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings. Additionally, VA health care is often more affordable than non-VA health care for Veterans.

To assist veterans with enrollment the Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission along with the Hines VA Hospital Outreach Team will host an outreach event on Monday April 1, 2024, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Minooka Village Hall 121 E McEvilly Minooka, IL.

This event is open to all veterans and no registration is required.

This event will have a representative from Hines VA Hospital to answer questions regarding eligibility and enrollment, the Vet Center will also be present to discuss their services along with the Grundy County VAC. The Minooka American Legion will also be present.

Please bring a copy of your DD214 and a Photo ID if you would like to enroll in VA health care or discuss any benefits or to file a claim for benefits or services. If you do not have a copy of your DD 214, the Grundy County VAC can assist you with getting a copy.

A veteran is also welcome to contact the VAC at or 815-941-3152 to ask general questions or to schedule an office appointment.