Congress this week passed the PACT Act, which might be the most significant piece of VA benefits legislation in years.
In short, the PACT Act makes it so that the VA presumes certain cancers and respiratory conditions are considered automatically related to service for Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans. The PACT Act also expands the list of veterans who are now considered to have been exposed to Agent Orange. Read below for more details. And it also adds two new Agent Orange presumptive conditions.
The PACT Act adds more than 20 burn pit and toxic exposure presumptive conditions to the list of conditions that VA considers automatically related to service:
In order for the new presumptive conditions to be linked to your service, you must be presumed by the VA to have been exposed to burn pits and toxic exposures. You are presumed to have been exposed if:
You served on or after September 11, 2001, in any of the following locations:
You served on or after August 2, 1990, in any of the following locations:
If you served in any of the above locations within the requisite time period, and you have any of the above medical conditions that are not yet service connected, then you need to submit an application to VA immediately. The VA is already processing and granting these claims.
The PACT act finally adds hypertension (high blood pressure) to the list of conditions that are presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
In addition, it adds monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), which is a condition where abnormal protein forms in your bone marrow.
Agent Orange Exposure in Thailand
For veterans that served in Thailand during the Vietnam era, it used to be that a veteran had to individually prove that they worked near the base perimeter (where Agent Orange was used) in order to be considered exposed.
Now, the VA presumes that any veteran who served at any U.S. or Royal Thai military based in Thailand from January 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976, was exposed to Agent Orange. This means a veteran no longer needs to prove that they worked near the base perimeter.
Other New Agent Orange Exposure Locations
The PACT Act makes it so that the VA will consider you exposed to Agent Orange if you served in the following locations:
If you have questions about the PACT Act and the new presumptive conditions and new presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange, schedule a free consultation or call me 800-955-8596 to learn more about your options.
Gregory Rada is an Air Force veteran that helps veterans nationwide receive the benefits to which they are entitled. He works with all his clients one-on-one from the start of their case to the end and never hands them off to case managers or paralegals. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.