FAYETTEVILLE — The PACT Act signed into law in August 2022 expands Veterans Affairs benefits for veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances during their service in Vietnam War, Gulf War or Post 9-11. The PACT Act was named after Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson who passed away at the age of 39, due to a rare illness that now is covered under the legislation named in his memory.
VA is now able to “presumptively” provide benefits to Vietnam, Gulf War and Post 9-11 veterans who live with hundreds of toxic-exposure related conditions — including many cancers and illnesses. This means that when eligible veterans apply for benefits, they do not need to prove that their service caused their condition; instead, VA automatically assumes service connection for these veterans and provides benefits accordingly.
There is no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits, but there is urgency: veterans and survivors who file PACT Act-related claims before by Aug. 9, 2023, if eligible, will have their benefits backdated to Aug. 10, 2022 — the day the bill was signed into law.
Veterans and their survivors needing more time to submit a full claim can submit an “intent to file” form. An “intent to file” submitted by Aug. 9 still provides the same effective date for backdated benefits.
Learn more about the PACT Act and apply or submit your “intent to file” by visiting VA.gov/PACT.
VA claims can also be filed at a county Veterans Services Office or VA accredited Veteran Service Officers and accredited attorneys and claims agents. To learn more about accredited representatives, visit www.benefits.va.gov/vso/.