Boston, MA – U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) recently hosted an information session with local Veterans groups to discuss the PACT Act, a law that makes Veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances during their military service automatically eligible for VA health care and retroactive disability benefits. The deadline for retroactive benefits is August 14th, 2023. Affected Veterans may still apply beyond that date for prospective benefits but retroactivity will not apply. To apply for benefits, visit:

The PACT Act adds a new list of presumptive conditions for Veterans, which requires the VA to automatically presume that certain disabilities and conditions were caused by their time in service. Under these presumptive conditions, Veterans do not have to have been diagnosed while in service or need to prove that their service caused the condition to qualify for VA disability benefits. If any Veterans were previously denied a VA disability claim for a condition related to toxic exposures or one that is now included in the new list of presumptive conditions, they can resubmit their claim.

The PACT Act adds presumptive conditions for Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, burn pits, Gulf War toxins, radiation, asbestos, and other toxic exposures, and it ensures every enrolled Veteran will receive an initial toxic exposure screening and a follow-up screening every five years. Any Veterans who are not enrolled, but are eligible, will have an opportunity to enroll and receive the screening. The PACT Act also makes 23 more health conditions presumed to be service connected so Veterans can immediately access the necessary healthcare.

The PACT Act expands the period of time that post-9/11 Veterans have to enroll in VA healthcare from 5 to 10 years for Veterans discharged or released after October 1, 2013. It also creates a one-year open enrollment period for Veterans who already fall outside of the 10-year expanded window (defined as veterans discharged or released before October 1, 2013) from October 1, 2022, to October 1, 2023.

Since the PACT Act was signed into law, it has delivered over $1.4 billion in benefits to Veterans and makes nearly 3.5 million Veterans eligible right now for care and benefits without having to go through the process of proving their illness is service-related.  Over 665,000 Veterans have applied for PACT Act-related benefits, more than 3.9 million Veterans have received new toxic exposure screenings, and more than 287,000 Veterans have enrolled in VA health care.

If you or someone you know needs assistance applying for PACT Act related benefits, please contact our Boston office at 617-428-2000.