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Whether You Served Stateside or Abroad, Our National VA Benefits Attorneys Can Help Clarify PACT Act Benefits

In March 2024, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dramatically expanded the scope of disability coverage for veterans under the PACT Act. Originally, the PACT Act called for a phased approach to veterans' health care, allowing current and former military personnel exposed to certain substances to enroll for VA health care on a schedule provided by the law. 

Now, according to the VA’s new accelerated timeline, if you were exposed to toxins or other hazards during military service—either at home or abroad—you could be eligible for PACT Act benefits. The dedicated VA disability legal team at Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, can help you make sense of it all. 

VA Now Allows Health Care for Exposure to Certain Substances

The PACT Act is an acronym that stands for “Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics”. Originally passed in 2022, the legislation was intended to provide VA benefits and health care to current and former servicepeople who were exposed to toxic substances in certain locations overseas. The bill also allowed veterans who were injured by toxic water at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits against the federal government. 

However, the spirit and intent of the PACT Act were not yet met as long as millions of veterans suffering from toxic substance exposure had to wait for health care. The VA took steps to fix that on March 5, 2024, after a directive from President Joe Biden.  

Now, PACT Act eligibility for health care isn’t determined by where you serve, but by what harmful substances you might have been exposed to during your service. They include, but aren’t limited to:  

  • Burn pits
  • Sand and dust
  • Particulates
  • Oil well or sulfur fires
  • Chemicals
  • Radiation
  • Warfare agents
  • Depleted uranium
  • Herbicides
  • Other occupational hazards

According to the VA, “you’re eligible to enroll now—without needing to apply for disability benefits first—if you meet the basic service and discharge requirements and any of these descriptions are true for you:

  • You served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other combat zone after 9/11, or;
  • You deployed in support of the Global War on Terror, or;
  • You were exposed to toxins or other hazards during military service at home or abroad.”

However, access to health care doesn’t automatically mean that the veterans qualify for other VA benefits. But there are some improved parts of that process as well.  

Qualifying for Veterans Benefits Under the PACT Act

In addition to expanding health care, the VA is also making it easier for veterans to qualify for benefits based on certain conditions. The PACT Act makes some illnesses presumptively connected to your military service. This means you don’t have to prove any connection between your condition and your service to receive benefits. Over time, the VA has continued to add to the list of presumptive illnesses to expand access to disability benefits—since 2022, the VA has added more than 20 illnesses to the list of presumptive conditions. 

However, even if a condition is considered presumptive, it doesn’t mean the VA makes qualifying for your benefits easy. Our nationwide team at Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, understands what a challenge it is for many of our clients trying to secure their rightful disability benefits, and how the VA has unreasonably delayed or even denied these claims. 

Regardless of where you served, and even if you have one of the outlined presumptive conditions, you may still need an experienced disability benefits lawyer to handle your claim. Our attorneys could both prepare your claim or represent you in any appeal if it’s denied. We have a solid track record of helping veterans manage the red tape and secure what they’ve earned.