Now that the PACT Act has been signed into law, many are wondering what the next steps are and when can healthcare benefits begin.

The PACT Act will bring these changes:

  • Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
  • Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
  • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
  • Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care
  • Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures

Here are some quick questions and answers from the VA to questions you may have regarding the PACT Act.

Can I apply now?
Yes. We’re considering all presumptive conditions established by the PACT Act presumptive on the date the bill becomes law.

If you think you may be eligible for VA health care or benefits, we encourage you to apply now.

When can I expect the VA to make a decision on my PACT Act Claim?
We encourage all Veterans and survivors to file for benefits now. We’ll start to process PACT Act-related benefits in January 2023. We must wait for funding approval from Congress and put the needed systems in place before we can process these claims.

If you apply for benefits at any time in the next year and we grant your application, we’ll likely backdate your benefits to the date of the bill signing. This means we’ll pay you the amount you would have received from August 10, 2022, to the date we grant your application.

What if the VA denied my claim but not considers my condition presumptive?
We encourage you to file a Supplemental Claim. When we receive a Supplemental Claim, we’ll review the claim again.

Note: If we denied your claim in the past and we think you may be eligible now, we’ll try to contact you. But you don’t need to wait for us to contact you before you file a Supplemental Claim.

For more information from the VA on the PACT Act, including how to file claims, survivor benefits, and more, please visit the VA PACT Act website here.