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This content was last updated on 11/17/2023

What is the PACT Act?

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances.  The Act:

  • expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam era, Gulf War era and post-9/11 era;
  • expands eligibility for service-connected disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances.
What are the main things I should know about the PACT Act?
  • The Act expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic-exposures and veterans of the Vietnam era, Gulf War era and Post-9/11 era.
  • The Act expands eligibility for service connected disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances by adding to the list of health conditions that the VA assumes (or “presumes”) are caused by exposure to these substances.
  • Every enrolled veteran will receive an initial toxic exposure screening and a follow-up screening at least every five years. Veterans who are not enrolled, but who are eligible to enroll, will have an opportunity to enroll and receive the screening.
What is toxic exposure?

Toxic exposure is exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances that you may have come into contact with during your military service, including:

  • AIR POLLUTANTS: Burn pits, oil well fires, sulfur fires, sand, dust, and other materials that are carried in the air
  • CHEMICALS: Agent Orange or other herbicides, burn pits, Camp Lejeune water supplies, pesticides, depleted uranium, chromium, or industrial solvents
  • RADIATION: Nuclear weapons testing, x-rays, or depleted uranium
  • WARFARE AGENTS: Chemical warfare agents, nerve agents, mustard gas, herbicide tests, and storage
  • OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS: Asbestos, lead, fuels, industrial solvents, radiation, vibration, noise, special paint on military vehicles, and some coolants or insulating fluids
What does it mean to have a presumptive condition for toxic exposure?

To get a VA disability rating, your disability must connect to your military service. For many health conditions, you need to prove that your service caused your condition.  But for some conditions, the VA automatically assumes (or “presumes”) that your service caused your condition. These are called “presumptive conditions.”

If you have a presumptive condition, you don’t need to prove that your service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption.

So, if you were exposed to the chemicals or substances listed above and have developed certain conditions, the VA will assume that you have a service connected disability.

How can I apply for VA disability?

For information on how to apply for VA disability, go here.

You can apply for VA disability here.

How can I apply for VA health care?

You can:

  • Apply online here
  • Call the VA toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387, M-F, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Mail a completed, signed Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ)
  • Bring a completed, signed VA Form 10-10EZ with you to your nearest medical center or clinic or get help through your state’s Department of Veterans Affairs Service Officer
  • Get help filing your claim by working with an accredited representative
Does the PACT Act make it easier for a veteran’s survivor to get benefits?

Yes.  VA will be contacting survivors who were previously denied benefits and may now be eligible under the PACT Act. You do not need to wait for VA to contact you to submit a claim.

Additional information for surviving family members can be found here.


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