Tens of thousands more veterans are eligible for Veterans Affairs health care as of October 1, 2022, according to VA officials. The changes stem from a law that was passed that gives veterans who were sickened by environmental exposures better access to health care and disability benefits.
Post-9/11 veterans who didn’t previously enroll in VA health care and meet specific criteria will be the largest group to benefit from the law.
If you think you may be eligible, sign up soon as there is only a one year period to take advantage of the new benefit.
Here’s the criteria veterans would need to meet in order to be eligible, via Military.com:
To be eligible, veterans would need to have served on active duty in a combat theater after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, served against a hostile force after Nov. 11, 1998, or were discharged or released from active duty from Sept. 11, 2001, to Oct. 1, 2013. Some additional groups of Vietnam veterans and Gulf War vets are also eligible to enroll under certain circumstances. Vietnam-era veterans will be eligible for care if they served any time in: - Vietnam from Jan. 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975 - Thailand at a U.S. or Royal Thai base from Jan. 9, 1962, to June 30, 1976 - Laos from Dec. 1, 1965, to Sept. 30, 1969 - Guam or American Samoa -- or their territorial waters -- from Jan. 9, 1962, to July 31, 1980 - Johnston Atoll, or a ship that called there, from Jan. 1, 1972, to Sept. 30, 1977 And any veterans who served after the Persian Gulf war and earned an expeditionary medal, a campaign-specific medal or another combat theater award, or a veteran who engaged in combat against a hostile force on or after Nov. 11, 1998, also will be eligible beginning Oct. 1.
The expansion will bring “generations of new Veterans into VA health care,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough stated.
The PACT Act is a historic new law that will help the VA deliver for millions of veterans and their survivors. It expands benefits and care to vets suffering from more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions.
Before the PACT Act was passed, veterans had to go through a long and tedious process to prove their disabilities were directly related to a specific incident during their time in service. But now they are getting rid of this process, which could sometimes take decades.
A lot of veterans who have not previously gotten their health benefits should finally be able to start getting the healthcare they need.