The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act) has set a deadline of August 9, 2023, for veterans to apply for toxic exposure benefits if they wish to have their payout backdated a year. The PACT Act is set to change the way the Department of Veterans Affairs handles claims related to service-connected toxic exposures, extending the scope of maladies considered as “presumptive conditions.” Veterans who qualify could potentially receive thousands of dollars in benefits, including pensions and educational benefits for their children. The application can be made through the Veteran Administration’s website.
- Deadline for Backdated Benefits: Veterans seeking backdated benefits under the PACT Act must apply by August 9, 2023. Applications after this date will not receive backdated benefits.
- Expansion of Presumptive Conditions: The PACT Act expands the range of illnesses recognized as connected to toxic exposures, including various cancers and respiratory diseases. Veterans won’t need to prove the service caused the condition, as long as they meet the service requirements for the presumption.
- Long History of Denied Claims: Prior to the PACT Act, qualifying for benefits due to toxic exposure was challenging, with the VA denying nearly 80% of claims related to injuries from burn pits used in conflicts in the Middle East.
- New Benefits Under the Act: In addition to expanding eligibility for VA healthcare for veterans with toxic exposures, the PACT Act also includes 20+ more presumptive conditions and requires the VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA healthcare.
- Impact on Veterans and Their Families: Veterans who qualify for the benefits under the PACT Act could receive significant financial support, including pensions and educational benefits for their children, potentially amounting to thousands of dollars per month.