The Veteran’s Administration (VA) has announced several in-person events in 27 states in early August to help veterans file claims if they believe that they were exposed to toxins or harmful radiation. The VA is hoping to get as many veterans claims as possible before August 9th. For those that cannot attend one of the events, there is a virtual event on August 2nd.
In August of 2022, President Biden signed into law the PACT Act, giving millions of veterans and their families the ability to get health care and compensation if it can be established through documentation that they were exposed to radiation or toxic chemicals while serving in the Armed Forces.
The VA would like as many potential beneficiaries as possible to begin their claim or announce that they will begin their claim by August 9th, hoping to backdate their claim as far back as possible. These claim event have been entitled “Summer VetFest” by the VA. It is a casual informational series of events, and some of these gathering events will include food and live music along with VA staff members that will be ready to help our veterans apply for benefits.
To qualify for the benefits, a veteran must have been diagnosed with one of the presumptive conditions identified by the VA. These benefits may be backdated by a year no matter when a veteran files, but August 10th of 2022 is the earliest effective date for living veterans.
There is an exception that exists for a veteran’s survivors. They may receive some compensation backdated prior to when the Act was signed into law if the deceased veteran had been denied benefits in the past. The VA must determine that a presumptive condition existed in which the veteran would have qualified for benefits while alive.
PACT Act beneficiaries can use services, benefits, and compensation to pay for education, buy food, and pay bills. This is not limited to one set of veterans but for veterans going back for years and generations and over many different times of war.
For veterans who think they may not have adequate documentation, they will need to support their claim before the August 9th deadline, and they may still declare their intention to file through submission of a separate form prior to the date. If the veteran files their claim and qualify within 365 days of the deadline, they can then get their full benefits backdated to August of 2022.
Veterans and survivors can go online to va.gov to file their PACT Act claim. Service organizations for veterans and county-based veterans service officers may provide free help to file.
August 9th is the last chance for veterans to get the maximum backdated benefit, but there is no deadline to file a PACT Act claim. If a veteran has been diagnosed with a presumptive condition moving forward, their future benefits can start as early as their date of diagnosis.