VA Begins Processing Disability Compensation Claims for Vets with Terminal Illnesses Under PACT Act
Weeks before the Department of Veterans Affairs is slated to begin processing claims for all Veterans under the PACT Act, they have begun reviewing disability compensation claims for Veterans who have a terminal illness.
The original date was January 1, 2023, for when the VA was supposed to begin processing all claims under the PACT Act. But in an announcement the VA stated they are moving up processing for dying veterans, and will begin reviewing those cases immediately.
"These veterans have stepped up to serve our country in the times when we needed them most -- and now it's our job to step up for them," VA Secretary Denis McDonough declared.
The VA has been preparing for the law to go into effect for months, encouraging Veterans to file their claims early.
Here's more on the PACT Act via Military.com:
The PACT Act, signed into law Aug. 10 by President Joe Biden, designated nearly two dozen diseases as presumed to be related to exposure to burn pits and added conditions to the list of presumptive illnesses for Agent Orange exposure, making veterans who have been diagnosed with the named illnesses eligible for expedited disability compensation.
It also added new geographic areas of service for veterans to receive Agent Orange-related benefits; extended the amount of time post-9/11 veterans can enroll in VA health care; and gave certain veterans who were discharged before Oct. 1, 2013, a special one-year enrollment period for VA health care that runs through Oct. 1, 2023.
The legislation was expected to add thousands of disability compensation claims from former service members diagnosed with illnesses believed to be linked to pollution from burn pits used for trash disposal overseas and other toxic chemicals encountered during military service.
For years the VA didn't want to admit that many veterans were experiencing serious illnesses caused by burn pits. They said there wasn't significant evidence that could tie the illnesses to the military.
However, they are now finally coming to realize that was not the case, and many veterans' health issues could indeed be linked directly to burn pits during their time in service.
If you believe you experienced health issues as a result of burn pit exposure you can call the VA at 800-698-2411 to get more information about filing a claim.