The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefit for Vietnam veterans, Burn Pit veterans, and post 9/11 & Gulf War veterans. It adds additional locations for Agent Orange exposure, and adds 20+ new presumptive conditions for Burn Pits and other toxin exposures.
For burn pit and other toxin exposures, these conditions are now presumptive:
The following locations have been added for Agent Orange exposure:
On April 26, VA announced the addition of nine rare respiratory cancers to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to exposure to fine particulate matter for Veterans who served any amount of time in
Veterans and survivors who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers are encouraged to file a supplemental claim for benefits;
The VA's recommendation is to evaluate tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a symptom rather than a disability. In the future (if approved), tinnitus and hearing loss will be evaluated together, with tinnitus only being granted if it adversely affects hearing, but hearing isn't bad enough on it's own for a disability. Current ratings will not be changed.
Sinusitis will be evaluated on the frequency of symptoms. The criteria of "incapacitating episodes" or the need for "bed rest" and "treatment by a physician" are being removed. Ratings will be 0%, 10%, 30% and 50%.
Sleep apnea will be rated based on its responsiveness to treatment rather than just having the treatment. Current ratings will not be changed.
Proposed new conditions relating to Ear, Nose, Throat, Audiology and Respiratory are:
Mental health disorder criteria will be updated to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Publishing, 5th ed, 2013) (DSM-5). It will begin focusing on the disabled veteran's ability to function in the work setting rather than focusing on the symptoms alone. Areas of assessment will be:
The new proposed assessment would be:
Each item would be rated as none, mild, moderate, severe or total.
A minimum rating would be 10%, then 30%, 50%, 70% and 100%.
Gulf War Presumptives: If you were around burn pits during the Persian Gulf war you now have until Dec 31, 2026 to file a claim. Please don't put it off!
At 30% and higher you receive additional compensation for your spouse and dependents. Read more...
If you qualify for travel pay you have 30 days from your appointment to claim it. To qualify, at least one of these must be true:
A disability claim to the VA is not a competition. It is a claim between you and the VA. If someone else is worse, that does not matter. The VA is here for both of you. Contact us for help.
A disability claim is not a once and done event. If you have a VA disability and feel it is worse, you can file for an increase.
Find out how to check the status of a VA claim or appeal online.
File for a service related disability, even if it isn't bad. A 0% rating is still a rating. Two 0% ratings can equal a 10% compensation, and you get your foot in the VA door. When it gets worse, you can file for an increase. Read more...
"VA Math" is the way the VA computes combined impairment ratings for multiple conditions in a Veteran’s compensation claim – and it requires that you unlearn real math. The VA does not add multiple ratings to get a total rating; instead, they use a formula to get a combined rating. The VA computes the combined rating by considering each disability in order of severity, beginning with the highest evaluation. Read more...
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If you are a veteran from Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present the Department of Veterans Affairs created a fast-track to disability compensation. Presumptive conditions are asthma, rhinitis or sinusitis from exposure to burn pits. Claims must be made within 10 years of your separation from active duty. Read more...
“Airborne hazard” refers to any sort of contaminant or potentially toxic substance that we are exposed to through the air we breathe. While on active duty, military service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards including:
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Public Law No: 116-283, added Parkinsonism, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism to the list of diseases presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. Read more...
VA Must Pay Retroactive Benefits to Blue Water Vietnam Vets. The U.S. Veterans Administration must honor the terms of a 1991 settlement and pay retroactive benefits to thousands of Navy veterans who served on ships off Vietnam’s coast for Agent Orange-related health problems, a federal judge ruled Thursday (Oct 29, 2020). Read more...
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will readjudicate claims for Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. This review is part of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s implementation of the November 5, 2020, U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California decision to readjudicate previously denied claims as applied in Nehmer vs. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who were previously denied service connection for an herbicide related presumptive condition due to lack of in-country Vietnam service will automatically have their claims readjudicated.
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie acknowledged publicly that service members who deployed to a Uzbekistan base used after the 9/11 attacks may have been exposed to toxic substances, asking for them to come forward to get help. “Several years ago our soldiers, sailors, airmen in particular started seeing ‘black goo’ come up from the ground. We are working with the Department of Defense to get to the bottom of that,” said Wilkie, who was speaking at the National Press Club and took questions from reporters.
If you were deployed to Uzbekistan from October 2001 to 2005, you have probably been exposed to many toxins, including radioactive processed uranium, chemical weapons remnants and underground pools of fuel and solvents that broke through the soil in a "black goo." Read more...
The VA "presumes" that any condition on the VA Presumptive List was caused by military service even though there may be no medical reasoning that definitively proves this connection. The VA Presumptive List basically states that if veterans who served in X location/circumstances during certain years developed Y or Z conditions, then those conditions will be automatically considered service-connected. No proof is needed beyond documents showing that the vet was indeed in that location/circumstance at that time. All veterans are required to have served at least 90 days of active, continuous service for their conditions to qualify unless it is specifically noted otherwise below. Read more...
Here is a great short video if you have a Compensation & Pension (C&P) Exam coming up: Common Mistakes Attending the C&P Exam
The VA is bringing virtual hearings to Veterans who have disagreed with the decision VA made on a compensation claim and who have appealed the decision to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA, “the Board”). If you have a cell phone, computer or tablet with Wi-Fi, you can have a virtual BVA hearing anywhere with a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ)! Read more...
Unless you've tried every other avenue, don't pay to have someone file your claim for you. There are numerous free services available to you.
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