Updated: December 1, 2023
US Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) is urging Hawaiʻi veterans and their survivors who may be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs health care benefits under the historic Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of August 2022, and who have not yet applied for benefits, to file or at least complete and submit an intent to file before Wednesday, Aug. 9. This will ensure they preserve eligibility for retroactive benefits back to the law’s enactment.
The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act is one of the largest VA health care and benefit expansions ever. Some highlights include the following:
- Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care to certain diseases linked to exposures to toxins during service in the Vietnam and Gulf Wars and post-9/11 era as well as in nuclear testing.
- Adds over twenty presumptive conditions for burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic exposures.
- Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation.
- Requires the VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care.
- Helps improve research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures.For those veterans and their survivors, there is no deadline for filing PACT Act claims. But in order for any benefits to also be paid back to the date of the law’s enactment, those claims must be filed by Aug. 9, 2023.
“Last year, I was honored to co-introduce and vote for the PACT Act to keep our promise to our nation’s veterans,” said Case, a member of the US House Committee on Appropriations and of its Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (2019-2023) and Subcommittee on Defense (2023-). “But this law is only as good as our veterans and survivors gaining full access to authorized benefits including back pay and care where eligible. I want to ensure that all eligible Hawaiʻi veterans and their survivors not only apply for PACT Act benefits but do so by Aug. 9 to qualify for the retroactive benefits.”
“The VA has also consistently said that even if veterans and survivors are uncertain whether they are eligible for PACT Act benefits, they should apply anyway,” said Case. “So, if you have not yet filed and have any question as to whether you’re eligible, I urge you to file by August 9th to maximize any benefits that may be awarded especially retroactively. Please contact my office at 808-650-6688 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or needs.”
Click here to file a PACT Act claim or intent to file. There is no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits, but if you file your PACT Act claim or submit your intent to file before Aug. 9, 2023, you may receive benefits backdated to Aug. 10, 2022 when the bill was enacted. If you file a claim or intent to file after Aug. 9, you will not be eligible for the retroactive portion of any benefits awarded.