Veterans have until this Wednesday to submit claims backdated to 2022 for benefits under the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.
The PACT Act broadens the spectrum of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and services for veterans who were exposed to hazards like burn pits and Agent Orange during their service
President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law in 2020, and it recognizes 29 health issues associated with exposures, according to Matt Allen, the director of the Bucks County Department of Veterans Affairs.
Initiating the claims process after Wednesday will make veterans ineligible for these retroactive advantages.
Federal officials have said the claims process needs to be initiated by required by Wednesday, but they do not have to be entirely completed.
While veterans can still file claims under the new law after the Wednesday deadline, those who do so before the deadline are eligible for benefits backdated to the date the bill was signed. Veterans who begin the process of filing PACT Act claims by Wednesday could be eligible for compensation retroactive to August 10, 2022. Those who file a claim after August 9 will not be eligible for the backdated benefit.
Allen said residents have been reaching out to the county about the guidelines.
So far, more than 4.1 million veterans across the nation have undergone screenings for toxic exposures, and claims of more than 400,000 veterans have had claims accepted.
The PACT Act is the largest benefit expansion in VA history, and allows for younger veterans to apply for assistance.