Recent PACT Act Changes Mean More Veterans are Now Eligible for VA Health Care

Learn more about expanded health care eligibility under PACT Act

Update to The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT ACT)

The PACT Act was first signed into law on August 10, 2022. PACT expanded eligibility for VA disability and health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam War, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras. Under PACT, all toxic exposed Veterans were to become eligible for VA health care in a phased in approach between now and 2032.

As of March 5, 2024 new changes to PACT, also known as Section 103 changes, eliminate that phased in approach and expand health care eligibility to all Veterans who participated in a Toxic Risk Exposure Activity (TERA) while serving their country, whether at home or abroad.

Meaning you may now eligible for VA health care even if you never deployed outside the US and don’t currently have a service connected disability.

What is a Toxic Exposure Risk Activity (TERA)?

Veterans who were exposed to one or more of the following hazards or conditions during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training are determined to have participated in a TERA:
* Air pollutants such as burn pits, sand, dust, particulates, oil well fires, and sulfur fires.
* Chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, depleted uranium with embedded shrapnel, and contaminated water.
* Occupational hazards such as asbestos, industrial solvents, lead, paints including chemical agent resistant coating, and firefighting foams.
* Radiation such as nuclear weapons handling, maintenance and detonation, radioactive material, calibration and measurement sources, X-rays, nuclear weapon technicians and dental technicians, those who served on nuclear submarine and other nuclear ships or in shipyards, or those who were involved in nuclear weapons handling and maintenance, including clean-up after accidents.
* Warfare agents such as nerve agents and chemical and biological weapons.

Please note, this list is not all-inclusive, and there is no timeline to apply. View additional military exposure categories on VA Public Health website at: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/. If you believe you have an exposure not listed here, that is not an automatic disqualification. Submit your statement of exposure and apply.

Minimum Active-Duty Service Requirements for VA Health Care:
* Veterans must have served 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period for which they were called to active duty.
* For Reserve and National Guard members, you may be eligible for VA health care if you have qualifying service described above and you meet the health care requirements under Section 103 of the PACT Act.
* The exceptions to VA health care eligibility can be found at https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/

How to File:
* Visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction
* Apply at your local VA Health Care Facility. Find your nearest location at https://www.va.gov/find-locations

Be sure to submit a statement of your toxic exposure when you file. Your exposure may not be evident through your service treatment records (STRs) and service personnel files alone.

 Remember, you do not have to have deployed outside the US, and you do not have to have a current  service connected disability to qualify. If you were exposed to toxic substances while on active duty, Apply for VA Health Care Today! 

 
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