According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (also known as the VA), around 80% of all claims under the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 were approved. This means that veterans who filed under the Act were able to get approved for veterans disability benefits. However, there are still issues, as 1 in 3 PACT Act claims resulted in a 0% disability rating, prompting a review from the VA.
Explaining the PACT Act
The PACT Act is a law that was passed in August 2022, which was meant to help veterans who suffered from medical conditions related to burn pit exposure. These burn pits often had toxic smoke emanating from them, and soldiers were often exposed to them while on duty. As a result, many suffered from chronic and potentially life-threatening medical conditions long after their service was over.
High Rates of Claims Being Approved
Fortunately, under the PACT Act, an estimated 80% of claims have been approved by the VA, indicating that the agency is taking these claims seriously. It is a good sign for veterans that they are now able to get benefits for these conditions that they would not have been able to get before. However, not all of this news is good, as some veterans are facing impediments in getting access to disability benefits despite having their claim approved.
1 in 3 PACT Act Claims Result in 0% Disability Rating
According to the VA, approximately 1 in 3 people applying for benefits through the PACT Act are receiving 0% disability ratings for their disabilities. This is due to how the VA calculates disability ratings, which reduces overall ratings for medical conditions controlled through treatment or medication. This means, for example, that veterans suffering from hypertension resulting from burn pit exposure may not get disability benefits if their high blood pressure is being controlled through blood pressure medication.
VA Looks to Reevaluate Ratings Schedule
In response to this, the VA has said that it will reexamine their ratings schedule and how it applies in cases like these. This will involve doing additional review of medical and scientific studies, while also consulting with the Veterans Health Administration to consider next steps. That way, fewer veterans will lose out on benefits just because they have their disability controlled by appropriate medical care.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.