PACT ActLast year Congress passed the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. An estimated 5 million U.S. Veterans have been affected by toxic materials during their military service through exposure to burn pits during the Gulf Wars, or Agent Orange during the Vietnam era, or radiation during any one of many assignments. The PACT Act expands VA benefits for these Veterans who time in service spans three generations.

If you are dealing with a serious health issue which you believe was caused by exposure to toxic materials, you will want to file for PACT Act benefits right away.  Although there is no time limit for filing a claim under this law, a compelling reason for staking your claim is the number of Veterans who have already filed for benefits—more than 700,000 as of earlier this summer. The VA has put forth a great deal of effort to get the word out about the PACT Act and Joshua Jacobs, Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Benefits, acknowledges this has contributed to a backlog of nearly 250,000 disability claims, which are more than 125 days old.

The VA says the backlog will likely grow in the near term, but the agency says they have put in place measures to bring that down in the next year or two. Jacobs said the Veterans Benefits Administration last year delivered a record 1.7 million decisions, up 12% from the previous year, and noted that the VA has increased its workforce by about 20% over the past 18 months to help tackle the new claims. But the sheer numbers clearly indicate that your best chance of not dropping further behind in the backlog is to get into the queue—by filing your claim—as early as possible.

Also, it is important to fully understand the provisions of the PACT Act. Too many Veterans are missing out on the benefits they have rightfully earned due to confusion or misinformation about the provisions of the PACT Act. We encourage you to read our blog post: 6 Misconceptions About the PACT Act. We are confident you will find the few minutes it will take to read this article is time well spent.

 If you served during the Gulf War, post 9/11, or Vietnam War eras and are dealing with a serious health issue which you believe was caused by exposure to toxic materials, you will want to get your free copy of our book Expanding Your VA Benefits: The Veteran’s Complete Guidebook for the PACT Act. You can get this comprehensive guide to your rights and benefits under the PACT Act through this link: The guidebook is free and we also can offer you a free personal evaluation of your disability case, just contact us at Cuddigan Law.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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