On August 2, 2022, Congress passed the PACT Act and on August 10th this important legislation was signed into law by The President. The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT Act) expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. This law will help generations of Veterans from Operation Desert Storm up to today and into the future. This Act will support their survivors as well with the care and benefits they earned and deserve. Prior to 1990, Vietnam-era veterans are already covered under previous legislation.
What does this mean for our Blue Rock Financial Group veteran, active, guard, and reserve clients, their families, and followers? It means 23 illnesses including respiratory problems such as COPD, bronchitis, lung disease and a range of cancers and conditions have been added to the presumptive list of conditions that are automatically deemed as being caused by your military service. These areas are where veterans, including myself, were directly exposed to trash burn pits, along with buried or exposed radiation and chemical weapons sources, and may have been exposed to other toxins.
If you believe you may be eligible for any VA benefit and especially if you were exposed to burn pits and/or may already have a condition covered under this law, contact your veteran’s service officer (VSO). Also, feel free to contact me, Theo Dressler at [email protected].
What does this mean for you financially and healthcare-wise if you are found to qualify for benefits under this Law? It can mean a significant increase in your current VA benefits and may be the catalyst that earns you the right to qualify for benefits. No one wants to get seriously ill or possibly terminally ill to receive benefits. However, these benefits have been earned in defense of our nation and our citizens. You worked hard and sacrificed much. If you are found to qualify, you and your family will be compensated financially and/or with healthcare costs.
A magic number in VA benefits is 50%. Below 50% you are covered and receive benefits, but tax-wise those financial payment benefits to you are still partially or fully taxable. At 50% and up benefits from the VA are 100% tax-free. There are a number of moving pieces, and we are happy to help or work with you and your VSO to get the ball rolling.
First gather ALL medical, eye, and dental records from your military service along with any records from civilian doctors for treatment of any illness you believe is connected to your military service. I cannot stress this enough. I have met many veterans, now in their 60s and up and now have military-related problems, but don’t have the records to prove it. If you don’t have those records, don’t let it stop you from applying for benefits, but with those records, the VA will make their decisions based on your medical records and deployment locations.
Equally as important, DO NOT discard copies of deployment orders and DD214s. Especially those showing service overseas no matter when or where. If you are still in the active service, guard, or reserve check out your medical records and copy literally everything in it. Lab work, appointment notes, X-ray reports, everything. Also, go to, or contact, your current or prior service personnel office to try and get copies of all deployment orders if you didn’t keep your own copies.
The longer you wait, the more potential benefit you may miss out on. Reach out today and find out more about “intent to file”, covered diagnosis under the PACT Act, and how to get started filing your initial claim.