The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act was signed by President Joseph Biden on August 10, 2022. This comprehensive health care and benefits legislation expands presumptive conditions for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins and adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation.
Gulf-War Era and Post-9/11 Veterans
Expanded benefits for Gulf War era and post-9/11 veterans include the following presumptive conditions:
- Brain cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
- Head cancer of any type
- Kidney cancer
- Lymphatic cancer of any type
- Lymphoma of any type
- Neck cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Reproductive cancer of any type
- Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type
In addition to the above, the following illnesses are now considered presumptive for Gulf War era and post-9/11 veterans:
- Asthma that was diagnosed after service
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic rhinitis
- Chronic sinusitis
- Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
- Granulomatous disease
- Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
Veterans who served in any of the following locations (including the airspace above) on or after September 11, 2001 are presumed to have been exposed to burn pits or other toxins:
Veterans who served in any of the following locations (including the airspace above) on or after August 2, 1990 are presumed to have been exposed to burn pits or other toxins:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Vietnam Era Veterans
Expanded benefits for Vietnam era veterans are also addressed in the PACT Act. First, the VA added high blood pressure (also called hypertension) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) to the list of Agent Orange presumptive conditions. Second, the VA added five new locations to the list of presumptive locations. If a veteran served on active duty in any of these locations, the VA will automatically presume exposure to Agent Orange:
- Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962 through June 30, 1976
- Laos from December 1, 1965 through September 30, 1969
- Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province from April 16, 1969 through April 30, 1969
- Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off of Guam or American Samoa from January 9, 1962 through July 30, 1980
- Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972 through September 30, 1977
Veterans who participated in any of the following “response acts” will be presumed to have been exposed to radiation:
- Cleanup of Enewetak Atoll from January 1, 1977 through December 31, 1980
- Cleanup of Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons off the coast of Palomares, Spain from January 17, 1966 through March 31, 1967
- Response to the fire onboard an Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons near Thule Air Force Base in Greenland from January 21, 1968 through September 25, 1968.
How to obtain benefits under the PACT Act
If you have never sought service-connected disability for any of these now-presumptive conditions and/or medical conditions related to the now-presumptive locations or response acts, a claim should be filed with the VA to determine eligibility.
If you filed a claim in the past for any of the now presumptive conditions and/or due to exposure at any of the now-presumptive locations or response acts but were denied service-connected disability, a supplemental claim should be filed with VA to reopen, review and determine eligibility.
If you currently have a claim pending review for a condition that is now presumptive, it should be considered presumptive based on passage of the PACT Act.
What if I need help obtaining benefits?
If you need assistance filing or reopening a claim for service-connected disability under the terms of the PACT Act or aggressively pursuing a claim already under review by VA, Avard Law Offices is available to assist you.
VA health care eligibility and survivors’ benefits have also been expanded under the PACT Act. Contact the VA directly to determine if you qualify for VA health care or survivors’ benefits.