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Rounds says veterans may 'overwhelm' VA with new claims

Rounds for Senate

The interview posted above is from SDPB's daily public affairs show, In the Moment with Lori Walsh.

South Dakota U.S. Senator Mike Rounds says the Department of Veterans Affairs is at risk of being “overwhelmed” by veterans seeking care and benefits for toxic burn pit exposure.

Senator Rounds voted for the PACT Act. The act offers “presumptive service connection” for veterans exposed to certain toxins. That designation clears a path for an estimated three point five million veterans to receive benefits and treatment from VA.

Rounds says the sweeping expansion of benefits might mean frustration for veterans struggling to access an already overloaded system.

“The question is: Are we making promises here to veterans that we can’t keep?" Rounds says. "My fear is that’s what’s happened and that in order to fix it we’re going to have to amend this at some point in the near future and include community care so veterans can go into the community and get the necessary care that they have earned.”

Senator Rounds says veterans impacted by toxic exposures should continue to reach out to VA for appointments. He also wants people to contact his office so he can take further concerns to the secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Lori Walsh is the host and senior producer of In the Moment.
Chris is a producer for In the Moment.