The PACT 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, and (2) expands eligibility for benefits for Veterans exposed to toxic substances.
The PACT Act key components:
- VA will improve the decision-making process for determining what medical conditions will be considered for presumptive status.
- 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.
- The Act requires research studies on mortality of Veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War, Post-9/11 Veteran health trends, and Veteran cancer rates.
- The Act authorizes 31 new facilities across the country, providing greater access to VA health care.
The law expands health care eligibility to several groups of Veterans who may not have been eligible before and requires VA to phase in hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any illness to three new categories of Veterans.
- CATEGORY 1: Veterans who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (as defined by law) while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
- CATEGORY 2: Veterans who were assigned to a duty station in (including airspace above) certain locations during specific periods of time:
- On or after August 2, 1990, in: Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or the United Arab Emirates
- On or after September 11, 2001, in: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, or any other country determined relevant by VA.
- CATEGORY 3: Veterans who deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, or Resolute Support Mission.
- EFFECTIVE ON OCTOBER 1, 2022:
Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam (from 1/9/62 – 5/7/75), Thailand at any US or Royal Thai base (from 1/9/62 – 6/30/76), Laos (from 12/1/65 – 9/30/69), certain provinces in Cambodia (from 4/16/69 – 4/30/69), Guam, or American Samoa or their territorial waters (from 1/9/62 – 7/31/80), or the Johnston Atoll or a ship that called there (from 1/1/72 – 9/30/77) may enroll in VA health care.
- BETWEEN OCTOBER 1, 2022, AND OCTOBER 1, 2023:
Veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998, and who were discharged or released between September 11, 2001, and October 1, 2013, may enroll in VA health care. Enrollment is free, there are no annual costs, and care may be free as well.
New conditions considered presumptive conditions under the PACT Act:
For Gulf War and post 9-11 Veterans who served in a covered geographic area, including those who served on or after 8/2/1990 in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Somalia, or the United Arab Emirates, and those who served on or after 9/11/2001 in Afghanistan, Egypt, Djibouti, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, or Yemen:
- Brain cancer,
- Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type,
- Gastrointestinal cancer of any type,
- Head cancer of any type,
- Lymphoma of any type,
- Lymphatic cancer of any type,
- Neck cancer,
- Pancreatic cancer,
- Reproductive cancer of any type,
- Kidney cancer,
- Asthma (diagnosed after service),
- Chronic rhinitis,
- Chronic sinusitis,
- Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis,
- Granulomatous disease,
- Interstitial lung disease (ILD),
- Pulmonary fibrosis,
- Chronic bronchitis,
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
For Vietnam Veterans two new conditions have been added:
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS),
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Here at the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services, we have Veterans Benefits Advisors, all veterans themselves, who are here to provide free and confidential assistance to you for accessing your Veterans' benefits. You can give us a call at 888-838-7697 to set up an appointment today.
For more information about the PACT Act visit the United States Veteran Affairs Website.
If you need assistance, or just want to learn more about the benefits and services you may be eligible for, schedule an appointment with one of our Veterans Benefits Advisors, all Veterans themselves.
- Call 1-888-838-7697 to speak to an advisor.
- Schedule a phone or video consultation online.
- Use our search to find a Services Office near you.