NewsCovering Colorado

Actions

PACT Act sign-up deadline extended, sign-up deadline now Monday

Health care benefits and monthly compensation from toxic exposure while serving
Posted at 9:32 AM, Aug 07, 2023

COLORADO — The deadline for veterans to sign up for PACT Act benefits was extended to Monday according to the Officer of Veteran Affairs (VA).

The extension comes as the VA says it had technical issues as veterans tried to submit online applications and received error messages.

The law expands VA health care and benefits for veterans (and their survivors) exposed to "burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances" during their service periods.

Free Pact Act clinics were held Monday through Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Colorado Army National Guard Readiness Center.

VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) and El Paso County Veteran Services Division members will be available at clinic events to assist with understanding the expansion of benefits.

ECHCS researchers will explain how study participation can improve health outcomes for veterans with early diagnoses and treatments. Patient services assistants will enroll those eligible into VA health care and schedule appointments. Nurses will screen for toxic exposures.

More than 500 people filed a claim in the last few days, more than the rest of the year combined. Veterans can also get tax-free monthly compensation based on their medical illness or disability.

"The disability percentage has a dollar amount attached to that tax-free, that's important to a lot of people," said Richard Wood, a Vietnam War veteran.

Wood was exposed to burn pits during his service, but said he suffers no serious effects.

PACT Act benefits will not become unavailable after August 9, but backdated benefits from August 10, 2022, will expire.

Some applicants may have filed a previous claim and received a rejection, but under the new PACT Act guidelines, applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

It is estimated between 10 to 25% of the nearly 100,000 veterans in El Paso County would qualify under the new guidelines.

More information relating to the Pact Act and benefit eligibility can be found on the VA's website.
____

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.