VA Expands Toxic-Exposed Veterans’ Eligibility for Benefits Using Tester’s PACT Act

VA adds three new cancers to its presumptive conditions list using new framework from the PACT Act

Leveraging authorities granted to it by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester’s PACT Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today added three new cancer types to its list of service-connected disabilities presumed to be caused by military toxic exposurePresumptive service connection ensures VA automatically assumes a disease is service-connected—making the disability compensation claims process more seamless for veterans.

VA’s move was done under Tester’s PACT Act, which created a framework that enables VA to further expand presumptive service connection benefits for toxic-exposed veterans. Prior to the PACT Act, VA’s ability to establish presumptive conditions was slow, cumbersome, and often required Congressional action.

“We fought like hell alongside veterans to get the PACT Act passed to ensure every veteran exposed to toxins during their military service would get the health care and benefits they earned and were promised,” Tester said. “I’m encouraged to see VA is using this law to continue adding new presumptive conditions for toxic-exposed veterans now suffering from cancers directly related to that exposure, and I’ll keep looking to VA to implement this law the way Congress intended and the way our veterans deserve.”

The cancers VA added to its presumption of service connection list include male breast cancer, urethral cancer, and cancer of the paraurethral glands for eligible toxic-exposed Gulf War and Post-9/11 veterans deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Dijbouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, and the entire Southwest Asia theater of operations

Tester championed the PACT Act and shepherded its passage through Congress in 2022. As Chairman, he fought tirelessly for years alongside veterans and Veterans Service Organizations in Montana and across the nation to deliver generations of toxic-exposed veterans and survivors their earned care and benefits under the PACT Act. Named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service, this law provides health care for Post-9/11 combat veterans, expands VA’s list of health conditions presumed to be caused by toxic exposures, which opens the door to additional benefits for veterans, and improves resources to support claims processing.

Under this law, VA recently granted its one millionth PACT Act disability claim.

Toxic-exposed veterans and survivors can apply today for health care and benefits at or by calling 1-800-MYVA411.


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