Active duty military service can put service members at risk for toxic exposures to things such as chemicals and burn pits. Toxic exposure can result in debilitating chronic medical conditions.
The PACT Act is a new law that expands veterans’ benefits to veterans who need treatment for conditions due to toxic exposure. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, one of the things that the PACT Act does is add more presumptive conditions related to toxic exposures.
What is a presumptive condition?
A presumptive condition is one that the VA can automatically assume came about because of military service. A veteran with one of these conditions only has to meet service requirements to receive veterans’ benefits for this condition.
Veterans can still get VA benefits for conditions that are not presumptive, but they have to prove both that they meet the service requirements and that the military service caused the condition. The PACT Act eliminates the latter step for more than 20 conditions that were not previously presumptive.
Whom does the PACT Act benefit?
Veterans with a new condition that is presumptive under the PACT Act can file a new claim for benefits. However, the benefits also apply retroactively to conditions that were not presumptive in the past. This means that veterans who previously had claims for benefits denied in the past may now be eligible and can file a new supplemental claim.
The VA is making an effort to reach out to veterans who had previously denied claims but may now be eligible for benefits under the PACT Act. However, veterans who believe they may be eligible for benefits under the PACT Act can file a claim right away. They do not have to wait for the VA to contact them.