Stay Informed: The PACT Act Cutoff Date Explained

pact act cutoff date military veterans toxins va

Staying informed is a crucial part of your health and well-being as a military veteran in the United States or its territories. That is why sticking to credible news sources and avoiding rumors or unsubstantiated reports is essential. Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the Honoring Our PACT Act, a significant expansion of veterans’ access to care and benefits related to toxic exposure. It also marks the deadline for veterans to file their PACT Act claims — or their intent to do so — to receive backdated benefits.

The PACT Act Cutoff Date

In decades, the PACT Act was one of the most significant expansions of veteran healthcare benefits. It covers veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances in their military service. Veterans need to know that the PACT Act cutoff date to file a claim for backdated benefits is quickly approaching. The date is earlier than expected, as the VA extended the PACT Act (Comprehensive Toxics) deadline because of technical issues. Many veterans received error messages when trying to file online. Senator Jon Tester calls on the VA to ensure all submissions are honored as on-time applications. He also wants to ensure that veterans have daily updates on the status of their claims, including whether they’ve been approved or denied. The Congressional Veteran Affairs Caucus is also working to help with the process.

What You Need to Know

For millions of veterans, the PACT Act marks a significant step forward in access to benefits and care. But the law also brings with it new complexity. Rosie Lopez-Torres knows the challenge firsthand. She co-founded the veterans’ advocacy group Burn Pits 360. She spent six days sleeping on Capitol steps in 2022 to pressure senators to pass the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Act. Her effort paid off. The bill passed, and President Biden signed it into law a day later. The PACT Act provides health care and compensation benefits to veterans who served on or near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune from August 1953 to December 1987 and have symptoms of 23 conditions linked to toxic exposure. Anyone who files a PACT Act claim by Wednesday, August 9, will have their benefits backdated to the date of the law’s signing.

The PACT Act FAQs

The PACT Act ushers new benefits and healthcare options for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances. This includes veterans of the Vietnam War, the Gulf War era, and post-9/11 conflicts. The law makes it easier to receive benefits, allowing veterans to no longer have to prove they have a medically service-connected health condition. The legislation also expands the number of presumptive conditions and rewrites rules for filing claims. Despite the complexities of filing a claim, veterans should remember that it’s no different than filing any other VA claim. They should visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website to learn more about the PACT Act and file their claim. Many veterans have questions about the process of filing a claim under the PACT Act. American Legion Department service officers can assist you with your PACT Act application at no cost. The VFW, WWP, and DAV are accredited organizations that can help with your claims.

The PACT Act Application

The PACT Act is one of the most prominent veterans’ benefits expansions in years, and veterans and survivors who are eligible for these new claims must file their applications by Monday. If they do, they can have their benefits backdated to August 10, 2022—the day President Biden signed the Honoring Our PACT Act into law. However, many veterans may need clarification about how to apply for PACT Act benefits or even whether these vets are eligible. To help them get clarity, we have created a new web page that answers common questions and includes a simple form to determine if you qualify for PACT Act benefits. Victories like this are possible only because veterans and patriots care enough to stand up for what’s right. Please join us to make future victories possible.