Veterans must apply by Aug. 9 to get full toxic exposure benefits
Meeting the deadline could result in thousands of dollars' worth of additional payouts.
The Department of Veterans Affairs urged veterans to apply for new military toxic exposure benefits ahead of an Aug. 9 deadline.
A new law called the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances.
It adds to the list of health conditions that the VA assumes are caused by toxic exposures, meaning that veterans no longer have to prove the relationship between their illness and the substances they came into contact with. The PACT Act also accounts for the radiation exposure experienced by veterans in certain locations during the 1960s and 70s.
Since the PACT Act was signed into law in August of last year, more than 600,000 veterans have applied for benefits — including at least 62,000 from Texas.
VA Secretary Denis McDonough toured South Texas VA facilities in May as part of a national outreach push about the PACT Act.
“This is going to be an historic year,” he said. “We feel very duty bound to ensure that we get these claims resolved accurately and quickly for our veterans. ... That's why we're going out of our way to make sure that we reach veterans and survivors and families where they are.”
Veterans who submit PACT Act claims before Aug. 9 could be eligible for retroactive benefits back to the date the law was signed. But those who enroll after Aug. 9 will only get payouts back to the date they filed.
For more information about the latest VA benefits, call 1-800-myVA411 or visit va.gov/pact.
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