ABC Fox Montana: Tester on the PACT Act benefits, and fast approaching deadline to receive

by Meredith Depping

The PACT Act was a piece of legislation that U.S. Senator Jon Tester not only pushed for, but fought for in the halls of the capital, and a big deadline to get maximum PACT Act benefits is coming up.

Joint Health Fair – PACT Act Event

Benjamin Charles Steele VA Clinic

1766 Majestic Lane

Billings, MT 59102

Friday, July 21, 2023, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. MT

PACT Act Claims Clinic

Great Falls Vet Center

615 2nd Avenue North

Great Falls, MT 59401

Friday, July 28, 2023, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Veterans or their survivors who want to file benefit claims for a toxic exposure-related medical conditions need to do so by Aug. 9 if they hope to receive retroactive benefits.

Our Bradley Warren sat down with Senator Tester, the Chairman of the ‘ Affairs Committee, and we talked about how you at home can get the maximum benefit.

“[The PACT Act] really is a great bill, it really is a giant step forward for the folks who served this country, making sure we live up to the promises,” Sen. Tester said. “The challenge is now, there are some deadlines that veterans need to know about.”

Tester stressed that the Aug. 9 deadline for signing up for the PACT Act, saying you can sign up any time, but if you want the benefits for when the bill was first signed in one year ago, you have to sign up before the deadline.

There are a number of ways to sign up for the PACT Act, including the VA website, via any veteran service officer or organization or through Sen. Tester’s office.

So far, the VA is estimating 3.5 million veterans could qualify, with a current approval rate of 79%.

“The truth is that toxic exposure has been around every conflict since World War I, and maybe even before that,” Sen. Tester said. “What we saw, and as we worked on this bill for several years before we got it passed, we had folks coming in and testifying, and we had folks that had double lung transplants, we saw folks that had cancers, we saw plenty of folks who just couldn’t breathe. And quite honestly, if you’re a veteran and you served in the middle east, you know this stuff. A lot of Americans did not, a lot of folks I serve with did not, so we had to get up and we had to tell the story.”