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PACT Act – Survivors

Sometimes there is a topic too expansive to cover in a single article. When it comes to the PACT Act, it requires multiple, repeated at­tempts to deliver the content necessary to edu­cate the masses. The single piece of legislation affects Veterans that served as far back as 1962 and those that served as recently as 2021. The PACT Act may also provide benefits for surviv­ing spouses not previously eligible.

Surviving spouses or children (minors) of Vet­erans who died from a PACT Act-related condi­tion may qualify for VA benefits. Survivors of Veterans who had claims previously denied for a condition that are now identified as presumptive conditions under the PACT Act may now reap­ply. VA has indicated they will attempt to review previously denied claims and reach out to survi­vors. However, you are encouraged to not wait and apply or reapply as soon as possible.

Survivor benefits may include a monthly De­pendency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment. DIC payments are for eligible sur­viving dependents of a Veteran who died from a service-connected disability. You may also be eligible for a burial allowance, education and training, health care, or a VA-backed home loan. You must apply for each of these benefits to re­ceive them.

Due to space constraints, I am not able to list all the service dates, service locations, and presump­tive conditions updated in the PACT Act affect­ing Vietnam, Gulf War, and Post 9/11 Veterans. For more information about PACT Act benefits and eligibility visit www.va.gov/PACT or contact your County Veterans Service Officer.

VA has created a performance dashboard to demonstrate transparency in their implementa­tion of the PACT Act with the most recent release of information being on March 17, 2023. Since August 10, 2022 (signing of PACT Act), there have been 362,934 total PACT related claims submitted. Of that total, 10,012 have been survi­vor claims. The total number of completed claims has been 157,854 and 2,843 have been survivor claims. PACT Act claims account for just over 30% of total claims submitted since last August. The top five PACT Act conditions granted are hypertensive vascular disease, allergic rhinitis, maxillary sinusitis, bronchial asthma, and malig­nant growth of the genitourinary system.

There is no time like the present to submit a claim.

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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