The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, known as the PACT Act, was signed into law in 2022. Its passage significantly expanded health benefits and coverage for Veterans who suffered harm after exposure to certain toxic substances.
At the Veterans Benefits Law Group, our lawyers can help determine if you are eligible for expanded coverage under the PACT Act. Many members of the armed services have suffered unimaginable harm after exposure to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other dangerous chemicals. We work tirelessly to get them the benefits they need to get the care and treatment they deserve.
If you have sustained harm after being exposed to toxic substances during your military service, you might be entitled to benefits through the PACT Act. Contact our office at (601) 414-3707 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What Is the PACT Act?
The PACT ACT is a law passed in 2022 that significantly expanded health benefits and coverage to Veterans who were exposed to certain chemicals during their service. The law also adds over 20 more conditions that are presumed to be caused by burn pits, Agent Orange, and exposure to other dangerous substances.
The Act is not only available to veterans who suffered the harmful effects of these chemicals but also to their survivors. The expansion of the list of presumptive conditions means that more veterans will automatically qualify for benefits without having to prove that their service caused their injury or illness.
How Does the PACT Act Affect Veterans?
The PACT Act greatly expands VA health benefits to veterans who suffered harm after being exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic chemicals during their service.
Expanded benefits are available for the following veterans:
- Vietnam-era veterans
- Gulf War-era veterans
- Post-9/11 veterans
If you have an eligible presumptive condition, you do not need to prove that your service caused the condition because the government assumes that it was. Conditions are only considered presumptive once they have been established as such by “law or regulation.”
Who Is Eligible for Benefits Under the PACT Act?
Veterans and survivors are both eligible for benefits under the PACT Act. A large number of presumptive conditions were added for Gulf War era and post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to burn pits. If you have suffered any of the presumptive conditions, you may be eligible for benefits without having to prove your condition was a result of your service.
Presumptive conditions for burn pits:
- Brain and kidney cancer
- Any type of gastrointestinal cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Reproductive and respiratory cancers
- Asthma (diagnosed with service) and chronic bronchitis
- Chronic rhinitis and sinusitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Pleuritis and pulmonary fibrosis
- Emphysema and sarcoidosis
- Granulomatous disease
- Interstitial lung disease
Two new presumptive conditions were also added for Vietnam era veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Individuals suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension) or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) may also be eligible for expanded benefits through the PACT Act.
Newly Added Presumptive Locations Under the PACT Act
In addition to adding over 20 presumptive conditions, the PACT Act expanded the number of presumptive locations. A presumption of exposure occurs in areas where the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs assumes that you were exposed to a dangerous substance such as Agent Orange or toxic chemicals from a burn pit.
Since it is presumed that you were exposed to a toxic chemical if you served in one of the presumptive locations, you may be eligible for benefits. However, you still have to file a claim for the benefits. They will not automatically be applied. Claims for VA benefits are routinely denied, not because they are invalid but because they are not properly filed. To avoid untimely and expensive delays, it is strongly recommended that you speak with an attorney.
Filing a Survivors Claim Under the PACT Act
Survivors may also be entitled to additional VA health benefits through the PACT Act if their loved one died from a “service-connected disability.” Eligible survivors include a surviving spouse, dependent child, or parent of the decedent.
Filing a survivor's claim can be challenging without the help of an attorney. It is essential that you consult with a lawyer as early in the process as possible. Depending on the situation, you may be eligible for a monthly VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) payment, a one-time accrued benefits payment, or a Survivors pension.
Contact Our Office to Determine Your Eligibility
At the Veterans Benefits Law Group, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve. Our legal team will provide dedicated advocacy for military families throughout Jackson, MS. The PACT Act greatly expands VA health benefits for veterans. Let us help you take advantage of this coverage. Contact our office today at (601) 414-3707 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.