PACT Act Update
Screenings mark key step in implementing the PACT Act, which President Biden signed into law on August 10 WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2022 — Beginning tomorrow, Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics across the country will offer enrolled Veterans a new toxic exposure screening. These screenings are a key part of the PACT Act, a new law that empowers VA to deliver care and benefits to millions of toxic exposed Veterans and their survivors.
The screening takes five to 10 minutes and begins by asking Veterans if they believe they experienced any toxic exposures while serving in the armed forces. Veterans who answer “yes” are then asked about specific exposures, including: open burn pits, Agent Orange, radiation,
contaminated water, and other exposures.
Veterans enrolled in VA health care will be offered an initial toxic exposure screening then follow-up screenings at least once every five years.
“These screenings are an important step toward making sure that all toxic exposed Veterans get the care and benefits they deserve," said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “At the end of the day, these screenings will improve health outcomes for Veterans—and there’s nothing more
important than that.”
Veterans who report concerns about toxic exposures will be connected to information about clinical resources and benefits. These screenings are a part of VA’s broader efforts to provide world-class health care for toxic exposed Veterans. Veterans can ask about receiving the screening at their next VA primary care provider appointment. If Veterans are not assigned to a Primary Care team or wish to be screened sooner than their next appointment, we invite them to contact their local facility and ask to be screened by the Toxic Exposure Screening Navigator.
VA began a pilot of this program on September 6. Since then, VA has screened more than 19,000 Veterans and found a 37% concern of exposure among those Veterans.
We encourage Veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care to apply now. Visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction to learn more. Access the following links for more information: • VA.gov/PACT.
VA expedites PACT Act cancer claims for nation’s Veterans
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2022 -- Today, on National Cancer Awareness Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will prioritize the processing of Veterans’ benefits claims for cancers associated with the PACT Act. VA will expedite these claims to ensure Veterans with
cancer are getting timely access to the care and benefits they need and deserve. This work is a part of President Biden’s vision for the Cancer Moonshot and his promise to comprehensively address military-related toxic exposures.
The PACT Act added presumptions of service connection for more than 20 new conditions, including various cancers. These presumptions help Veterans get their earned benefits by reducing the evidence necessary for VA to find that a condition was caused by burn pits or other toxic exposures. They also simplify the claims process by eliminating the need to establish a link between the Veteran’s service and the claimed condition.
Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, Veterans have filed nearly 14,000 claims for cancers covered by the PACT Act.
“We are working hard to get benefits to all Veterans who qualify under the PACT ACT as soon as possible, and Veterans living with cancer are at particular risk,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “Expediting claims for these Vets will ensure that they get the care and benefits
they need and so rightly deserve.”
This decision is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to care for those with cancer and end cancer as we know it. In addition to prioritizing claims for Veterans with cancer, VA will continue to prioritize the processing of claims for Veterans with terminal illnesses and
those experiencing homelessness.
VA will begin processing all PACT Act-related claims Jan 1, 2023. In anticipation of the surge in new claims, VA is hiring at 56 regional offices and 39 other special processing and call centers within the United States and Puerto Rico. Learn about the positions and how to apply. For more information about PACT Act and how to file a claim, visit va.gov/PACT. If Veterans, their families, caregivers or survivors have questions about PACT Act and wish to speak with someone to help, they may call 1-800-MyVA411 at any time.