The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will prioritize processing benefits claims for cancers under the PACT Act, the department announced. Expediting these benefits will ensure veterans fighting cancers related to toxic exposures are getting timely access to the care and benefits they need.
Veterans have filed nearly 125,000 PACT Act-related claims since the legislation was signed into law last summer. Approximately 14,000 of those claims are for cancers covered by the PACT Act.
“We are working hard to get benefits to all veterans who qualify under the PACT Act as soon as possible, and veterans living with cancer are at particular risk,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “Expediting claims for these vets will ensure that they get the care and benefits they need and so rightly deserve.”
The PACT Act added more than 20 new conditions, including a dozen cancers, which are now presumed to be caused by exposure to burn pits and other toxins. This change impacts Gulf War era and post-9/11 veterans.
These cancers were added to the presumptive conditions list:
· Brain cancer
· Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
· Head cancer of any type
· Kidney cancer
· Lymphatic cancer of any type
· Lymphoma of any type
· Neck cancer
· Pancreatic cancer
· Reproductive cancer of any type
· Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type
These presumptions reduce the evidence necessary for VA to find that a condition was caused by burn pits or other toxic exposures. They also simplify the claims process by eliminating the need to establish a link between the veteran’s service and the claimed condition.
For more information on filing a VA disability claim, click here.
For more information on the PACT Act, click here.