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The PACT Act and Your VA Benefits

The PACT Act

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

The PACT Act adds to the list of health conditions that we assume (or “presume”) are caused by exposure to these substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

This page will help answer your questions about what the PACT Act means for you or your loved ones. You can also call us at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711). And you can file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation or apply for VA health care now.

► File a disability claim online

Apply for VA health care

What’s the PACT Act and how will it affect my VA benefits and care?

The PACT Act is perhaps the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history. The full name of the law is The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

The PACT Act will bring these changes:

  • Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
  • Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
  • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
  • Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care
  • Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures

If you’re a Veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for PACT Act-related benefits.

What does it mean to have a presumptive condition for toxic exposure?

To get a VA disability rating, your disability must connect to your military service. For many health conditions, you need to prove that your service caused your condition. 

But for some conditions, we automatically assume (or “presume”) that your service caused your condition. We call these “presumptive conditions.”

We consider a condition presumptive when it's established by law or regulation.

If you have a presumptive condition, you don’t need to prove that your service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption.

► For more information and answers to your questions go to: www.va.gov/resources/the-pact-act-and-your-va-benefits

Topics covered include: 

  • Gulf War era and post-9/11 Veteran eligibility
  • Vietnam era Veteran eligibility

Getting benefits

If you haven’t filed a claim yet for the presumptive condition, you can file a new claim online now. You can also file by mail, in person, or with the help of a trained professional.

If we denied your disability claim in the past and we now consider your condition presumptive, you can submit a Supplemental Claim. We’ll review your case again.

Find out how to file a Supplemental Claim

Information for survivors

Can Veterans' survivors get compensation Yes. If you’re a surviving family member of a Veteran, you may be eligible for these benefits:

  • A monthly VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) payment. You may qualify if you’re the surviving spouse, dependent child, or parent of a Veteran who died from a service-connected disability. 
    Learn how to apply for VA DIC
  • A one-time accrued benefits payment. You may qualify if you’re the surviving spouse, dependent child, or dependent parent of a Veteran who we owed unpaid benefits at the time of their death.
    Learn about evidence needed for accrued benefits
  • A Survivors Pension. You may qualify if you’re the surviving spouse or child of a Veteran with wartime service.
    Learn how to apply for a Survivors Pension

Related information

VA benefits

  • Health care - Apply for VA health care, find out how to access services, and manage your health and benefits online.
  • Disability - File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time.

Need more help?

  • MyVA411 main information line: 800-698-2411

 


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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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