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The PACT Act

On Aug 10, the PACT Act was signed into Law by President Biden. This law is a life changer for tens to hundreds of thousands of Veterans. The law makes over 20 new illnesses presumptive for toxic exposure to burn pits and other airborne toxins. The law also affects Vietnam era Veterans and Veterans who may have been exposed to radiation.

For Vietnam Veterans, the law includes two new presumptive illnesses from Agent Orange and greatly expands the locations for presumptive Agent Orange exposure.

In addition, the law includes three new areas which are presumptive for radiation exposure.

Vietnam – Agent Orange

Let’s start with Vietnam era Veterans and work our way forward in time.

The following areas have been included as locations which are presumptive for Agent Orange exposure.

  • Thailand – Veterans who served on any US or Royal Thai base between January 9, 1962 and June 30, 1976.
  • Laos – Veterans who served in Laos between December 1, 1965 and September 30, 2969.
  • Cambodia – Veterans who served at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province between April 16 and April 30, 1969.
  • Guam or America Samoa – Veterans who served in either of these locations between January 9, 1962 and July 31, 1980.
  • Johnston Atoll – Veterans who served on Johnston Atoll or on a ship calling at Johnston Atoll between January 1, 1972 and September 30, 1977.
Agent Orange

There are two new presumptive disabilities which have been added for Agent Orange Exposure.

  • Monoclonal Gammopathy – effective date is October 1, 2022
  • Hypertension – effective date is October 1, 2026

There are two things to note about these effective dates.

  1. The effective date will be the day the law was signed for Veterans in the following situations:
  2. Terminally ill
  3. Homeless
  4. Under extreme financial hardship
  5. Over 85 years old
  6. Capable of demonstrating other sufficient cause

These two conditions will only be retroactive for DIC purpose. In order for a surviving spouse to receive DIC, the Veteran must have either passed from a service connected disability or have been 100% P&T for at least 10 years.

Radiation

Three areas have been added to the list of areas where Veterans are presumed to have been exposed to radiation.

  • Enewetak Atoll cleanup – From January 1, 1977 to December 31, 1980
  • Palomares, Spain – From January 17, 1966 to March 31, 1967
  • Thule AFB, Greenland – From January 21, 1968 to September 25, 1968

Burn Pits and Airborne Toxins

The countries covered for Burn Pit and Airborne Toxin presumptive disabilities are as follows:

On or after August 2, 1990 for Veterans who performed active military, naval, air, or space service while assigned to a duty station in, including the airspace above:

  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

On or after September 11, 2001 for Veterans who performed active military, naval, air, or space service while assigned to a duty station in, including the airspace above:

  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Uzbekistan
  • And other county deemed relevant by the Secretary

As you can see, the list has been left open ended in case other countries should need to be added at a later date.

List of Presumptive Diseases

The 23 presumptive diseases from burn pits and toxic airborne hazards will be phased in over the next four years according to the PACT Act. We are listing them according to when they become effective.

Effective Date Oct 1, 2022

  • Asthma diagnosed after service
  • Respiratory cancer of any kind
  • Brain Cancer
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis
  • Emphysema
  • Granulomatous disease
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Pleuritis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Glioblastoma

Oct 1, 2023

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Oct 1, 2024

  • Head cancer of any type
  • Neck cancer of any type
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
  • Reproductive cancer of any type
  • Lymphoma cancer of any type
  • Lymphomatic cancer of any type
  • Pancreatic cancer

And Oct 1, 2025

  • Kidney cancer
  • Melanoma

File Now

The VA is advising all Veteran who are diagnosed with any of these issues to file now. Don’t wait until closer to the effective date listed in the Act itself, go ahead and get your claim in to the VA.

More information on the PACT Act can be found at https://VA.gov/PACT or by calling 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-1411).

As always, if you have any comments, you can leave them below or email us at info@nwavet.org.  We hope this information is helpful and are very glad to see this piece of legislation get signed into law. It’s a long awaited step in taking care of the Veterans and Service Members who deserve it.

God Bless,

NWAVet

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