Are you eligible for new PACT Act benefits?

On August 10, 2022, the president signed into law the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. The law significantly expands benefits to Veterans who were exposed to toxins from burn pits during their military service.

What does this mean?

Military exposure to toxic burn pits has been connected to conditions such as asthma, cancers, and other disabilities that take years to manifest. Previously, by the time an associated condition was diagnosed, it would take years to connect it to exposure to an environmental toxin during military service, and by then, Veterans might have passed their eligibility window to apply for benefits. With PACT Act, now that exposure is presumed–meaning that for more than 20 covered conditions, you don’t need to prove that your condition is service-connected. You need simply apply for benefits, and you will received health, benefits, and possible disability compensation if VA assigns you a disability rating.

Who is eligible for PACT Act benefits?

VA states that anyone who served in the following locations is eligible, and that post-9/11 combat Veterans now have 10 years from their date of separation to apply for benefits, and all others have a one-year open enrollment period, beginning now, to apply.

On or after September 11, 2001, in any of these locations:

  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen
  • 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)
  • The airspace above any of these locations

Which conditions are covered by PACT Act?

VA states the following conditions are now presumed service-connected:

These cancers are now presumptive:

  • Brain cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
  • Glioblastoma
  • Head cancer of any type
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer of any type
  • Lymphoma of any type
  • Melanoma
  • Neck cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Reproductive cancer of any type
  • Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type

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
  • Sarcoidosis

How do I apply for PACT Act benefits?

Visit VA’s website for PACT Act information, resources, and application details to learn more and apply for benefits, or you can call VA’s My411 line at 1-800-698-2411 for more information.