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Toxic-Exposed Veterans Should File a PACT Act Claim, or Intent to File a Claim by August 9, 2023

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    What is the COST of War Act and the PACT Act?

    The Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops (COST) of War Act of 2021 established the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care and disability benefits to toxic exposed veterans.  The House’s version of the bill, the PACT Act, significantly expanded VA healthcare benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances. These acts have rightfully made it easier for veterans to receive benefits by expanding the list of “presumptive conditions.” This means the VA assumes the military service caused the condition, taking the burden of proving the connection off the person filing the claim.

    Why are these acts significant to veterans exposed to “burn pits?”

    The PACT Act will cover more than 20 new illnesses related to burn pits and toxic exposures for veterans of post-9/11, Gulf War, and Vietnam eras. Burn pits were used by soldiers in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan to incinerate everything from chemicals, paint, medical waste, rubber, and plastics. Thousands of troops were exposed to these toxic fumes and smoke. Veterans exposed to smoke from these burn pits developed long-term health issues, including blood cancer. The toxins used may have affected the skin, eyes, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, gastrointestinal tract, and internal organs.

    How do I know if I am eligible to receive benefits under the PACT Act?

    A recent AARP report found that nearly two-thirds of veterans don’t know they are eligible for benefits.

    If you served at any of these locations and time periods, the VA will determine you had exposure to burn pits or other toxins. In other words, you have the presumption of exposure to burn pits.

    • On or after September 11, 2001, in any of these locations: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen, or the airspace above any of these locations.
    • On or after August 2, 1990, in any of these locations: Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), or the airspace above any of these locations.
    • Burn Pit and Toxic Exposure Conditions that are now Presumptive:
    • These cancers are now presumptive: brain cancer, gastrointestinal cancer of any type, glioblastoma, head cancer of any type, kidney cancer, lymphoma of any type, melanoma, neck cancer of any type, pancreatic cancer, reproductive cancer of any type, respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type.
    • Learn more about presumptive cancers related to burn pit exposure: Presumptive Cancers Related To Burn Pit Exposure | Veterans Affairs (
    • These illnesses are now presumptive: asthma that was diagnosed after service, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis, emphysema, granulomatous disease, interstitial lung disease (ILD), pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis, and sarcoidosis.

    When should I file a PACT Act claim?

    Veterans or survivors should file either a PACT Act claim, or an intent to file on the VA’s website no later than August 9, 2023 to receive benefits backdated to August 10, 2022. After you notify the VA of your intent to file, you have 1 year to complete and file your claim. Of the 770,000 PACT Act claims the VA has received to date, the VA has approved 78% of claims. (Source 4).

    Link to file a claim: The PACT Act And Your VA Benefits | Veterans Affairs

    Works Cited:

    Source 1:

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    Source 4:

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