Under the PACT Act, more than 300 medical issues have been added to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) list of presumptive conditions. This has helped to dramatically increase the number of veterans who are able to access disability benefits through the VA, particularly veterans suffering from burn pit exposure. Veterans who want to take full advantage of the PACT Act should submit their claims as soon as possible to maximize their chances at getting the benefits they deserve.
What is the PACT Act?
The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, also known as the Honoring Our PACT Act or simply the PACT Act, was originally passed in 2022 to address the issue of veterans harmed by burn pit exposure. Before its passage, many veterans suffered from medical problems related to being exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits, but were unable to obtain disability benefits related to those conditions. With its passage, veterans now had an easier time, thanks to many types of conditions being added to a list of “presumptive conditions.”
What Are Presumptive Conditions?
Under normal circumstances, the VA will not award disability benefits to someone unless they can prove their disability is service related. This became an issue for many people suffering from conditions caused by burn pit exposure, who had limited scientific evidence to rely upon. By adding these medical issues as “presumptive conditions,” the VA will simply assume that any veteran with these diseases got them through their service, rather than forcing them to prove it, removing many barriers between them and their benefits.
What Presumptive Conditions Were Added?
The PACT Act added 23 separate categories of conditions to the list of presumptive conditions, encompassing more than 300 separate medical issues. These include, but are not limited to:
- Many types of cancer, including brain cancer, lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancer
- Asthma (diagnosed after service)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic rhinitis or sinusitis
- Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
What Should You Do?
If you have one of the presumptive conditions listed above and you served in the military, you may be able to obtain benefits under the PACT Act. However, to get those benefits, you will need to apply as soon as possible. That is why you should contact lawyers with experience handling VA disability claims, who can assist you with your needs.
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.