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PACT Act Recap

Yes, I just shared this information recently. No, I have not run out of material. On August 10, 2022, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robin­son Honoring Our Promise to Address Compre­hensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 was signed into law. Possibly the most comprehensive Vet­erans legislation ever passed. Let me translate, comprehensive means confusing.

The PACT Act expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic expo­sures and Veterans of the Vietnam era, Gulf War Era, and Post-9/11 era. The PACT also expands eligibility for benefits for all Veterans exposed to toxic substances. The benefits of expansion also in­cludes new geographical areas for both Vietnam War era and Gulf/Post-9/11 War era.

These expanded benefits are for service-con­nected disability compensation which may in­clude direct, secondary, aggravated, and pre­sumptive conditions. You must submit a claim to receive service connection and corresponding rating. The required elements of a claim are a current diagnosed condition; an in-service event, injury, or illness; and a medical nexus (opinion) linking the first two.

The confusion is the PACT Act is not a condi­tion you may claim for service connection. The PACT Act is a law adding new and expanding existing Veterans Benefits. A medical condition, like sinusitis or hypertension, is something that may be claimed because of the PACT Act.

The previous deadlines of August 9 and Au­gust 14 were to establish an effective date of claim (August 10, 2022) for specific PACT Act related condition/s. Submitting the appropriate forms for either an intent to file (ITF) or disabil­ity compensation claim would establish the date of claim from the day the PACT Act was signed into law. If you were awarded service-connection for a condition defined in the PACT Act, then you may receive compensation back to the effective date. Not all claimed conditions will apply, and not all Veterans receiving a positive decision will receive backdated compensation.

The PACT Act does not have a deadline or ex­piration date. The PACT Act is a law. There may be certain PACT Act-related benefits that have specific date requirements, but service-connected disability compensation claims and related con­ditions do not have an expiration date. You may submit your VA claims until VA ceases to exist (or never).

Brad Anderson is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.834.8326, or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen. christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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