126 U.S. VETERANS MAGAZINE WWW.USVETERANSMAGAZINE.COM
his last August, President Biden officially signed the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. The PACT Act is the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans in more than 30 years. From qualifications to receiving disability benefits, here's everything you need to know:
What does the PACT Act do?
The PACT Act: Expands and extends eligibility for Veteran Affairs health care for veterans with toxic exposure and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras. Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures. Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation. Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care. Helps us improve research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures.
What burn pit and other toxic exposure conditions are now presumptive?
Now expanding to include veterans from the Gulf War and post-9/11 eras, the PACT Act presumes over 20 conditions. The conditions include: Asthma diagnosed after service Chronic bronchitis Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Chronic rhinitis Chronic sinusitis Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis Emphysema Granulomatous disease Interstitial lung disease (ILD) Pleuritis Pulmonary fibrosis Sarcoidosis
For more information, visit the VA at
The PACT Act Passed, Now What?
The following cancers are also presumptive: Brain cancer Gastrointestinal cancer of any type Glioblastoma Head cancer of any type Kidney cancer Lymphatic cancer of any type Lymphoma of any type Melanoma Neck cancer Pancreatic cancer Reproductive cancer of any type Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type
What new Agent Orange presumptive conditions have been added?
Along with the current presumptive conditions and cancers associated with Agent Orange, the PACT Act adds two new conditions to the list. Individuals with high blood pressure (hypertension) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) are now eligible to apply for benefits.
Am I eligible for free VA health care as a post-9/11 vet?
VA health care eligibility is extending and expanding based on the PACT Act. The VA encourages you to apply, no matter your separation date. Your eligibility depends on your service history and other factors. If you meet the requirements listed here, you can get free VA health care for any condition related to your service for up to 10 years from the date of your most recent discharge or separation. You can also enroll at any time during this period and get any care you need, but you may owe a copay for some care. At least one of these must be true of your active-duty service: You served in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War, or You served in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998. And this must be true for you: You were discharged or released on or after October 1, 2013. Enrollment is free and recommended as soon as possible.
How do I file a disability claim for a new presumptive condition?
If you haven't filed a claim yet for the presumptive condition, you can file a new claim online now. You can also file by mail, in person or with the help of a trained professional.
What if the VA denied my claim but now considers my condition presumptive?
If you were previously denied for a condition that is now presumptive, you should be contacted by the VA concerning your new status. Regardless of contact, you are also encouraged to file a supplemental claim to be reevaluated for benefits.
What if I have a pending claim for a condition thats now presumptive?
You dont need to do anything. If we added your condition after you filed your claim, well still consider it presumptive. Well send you a decision notice when we complete our review.
Can I apply now?
Yes, all presumptive conditions established by the PACT Act have been considered from the date the bill became law. Applications can be filed online with the Department of Veterans Affairs office.
Source: Department of Veterans AffairsPrevious Page