VA Processing Claims for Terminally Ill Veterans under PACT Act
Feb 28, 2023
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 28, 2023 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it would begin processing PACT Act benefits for qualifying terminally ill veterans. The bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, PACT Act, is one of the largest healthcare and veterans benefits expansion in the past 30 years. The PACT Act, named in honor of a combat medic who died from lung cancer, will deliver more timely benefits and resources to veterans who suffered injuries or illnesses from toxic exposures while serving in the military.
What is the PACT Act?
According to the VA, the PACT Act will ensure veterans receive high-quality healthcare services related to toxic exposures. Specifically, the Act provides that Post-9/11 combat veterans have ten years post-discharge to file for VA health care. Further, combat veterans who fall outside that window have a one-year open enrollment period. Additionally, the Act codifies the VA’s method for processing, evaluating, and determining whether a veteran is entitled to presumptive benefits. A critically important aspect of the PACT act is that the Act removes the requirement for certain veterans and their survivors to prove service connection for qualifying conditions.
Typically veterans seeking service-connected benefits must establish that their disability is related to their military service. For most health conditions, the veteran must demonstrate that their service caused their condition. However, for certain conditions, the VA automatically “presumes” that the veteran’s service caused their condition. If a veteran has one of the qualifying presumptive conditions, they do not need to prove that their service caused the condition. Instead, the veteran must only meet the service requirements for the presumptive benefits.
Presumptive Conditions under the PACT Act
The VA added over 20 burn pits and toxic exposure presumptive conditions under the PACT Act. The following cancers are some of the newly added presumptive conditions under the PACT Act:
Reproductive cancer, and
Further, the following illnesses are presumptive under the PACT Act:
Pulmonary fibrosis, and
In addition to these cancers and illnesses, there are many other health conditions that the VA presumes were caused by toxic exposure.
What is the Processing Time for PACT Act Claims?
The VA started expediting processing for terminally ill veterans beginning December 12, 2022. The VA started fully processing PACT act claims for most veterans on January 1, 2023. They continue to prioritize terminally ill veterans, veterans with cancer, veterans experiencing homelessness, veterans older than 85 years old, veterans experiencing financial hardship, and Medal of Honor and Purple Heart veterans. Veterans who believe they qualify for expedited processing or presumptive benefits under the PACT Act should consult with an experienced Veterans attorney to discuss their rights and entitlement to benefits.
Attorney David W. Magann is a Florida veterans’ benefits attorney with extensive experience handling the legal issues that many veterans face. His offices are located in Tampa and Brandon, FL. Attorney Magann is a compassionate advocate who diligently pursues the interests of his clients and provides practical advice on a variety of other pertinent legal issues, including estate planning, disability benefits, and personal injury law.
Learn more at http://www.tampaveteranslawyer.com/
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 West Robertson Street
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy
Lutz, FL 33548
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