Congressman Carbajal Urges Veterans to File for PACT Act Benefits before August 9 Deadline
Over 700 PACT Act benefits have already been approved for Central Coast veterans
Santa Barbara, July 31, 2023
With two deadlines approaching, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) is urging all eligible veterans to enroll with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and file their claim as soon as possible for benefits established through last year’s passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act (PACT Act).
“While over half a million individuals have filed claims since the passage of the PACT Act, including more than 700 here on the Central Coast, there are millions more who have yet to file but may be eligible to receive benefits. And there are two fast-approaching and important deadlines for veterans to enroll in VA health care and file claims for the benefits they earned through their service,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Veterans, don’t wait – meet with a VA-accredited Veterans Service Organization to access the health care and benefits you earned through your service.”
Congressman Carbajal’s full message to Central Coast veterans can be found here.
Last August, Rep. Carbajal helped pass the largest expansion of veterans’ benefits in decades, which opened up health care benefits to over 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service and expanded the definition of costs of war to include exposures to burn pits and airborne hazards.
Veterans must submit their intent to file a claim before Aug. 9, 2023 to retroactively receive compensation dated to Aug. 10, 2022.
Post-9/11 combat veterans who were discharged over 10 years ago and are not enrolled in VA health care must enroll in VA health care by October 1, 2023, to take advantage of the open enrollment period. By taking advantage of the open enrollment period, veterans can avoid a phased-in enrollment period that could mean waiting longer until they are eligible.
To help with the enrollment process and to ensure claims are submitted, Rep. Carbajal is encouraging all eligible veterans to work with a VA-accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) free of charge so that they can get the health care and benefits they earned.
"We owe it to our veterans to ensure they have the care and resources they need. This law has made it easier for our servicemembers to get screened and qualify for health care – but this law can’t help anyone if veterans don’t take the step to file their claims," said Carbajal. “When our servicemembers embark on their missions to protect the United States, we make a promise that we will take care of them when they come home. As a veteran myself, I am proud to have helped pass this comprehensive legislation to finally recognize military toxic exposure as a cost of war and ensure we keep our promise to our veterans.”
Under the PACT Act, veterans previously denied a toxic-exposure-related claim can file a new claim for the VA to review. Active-duty military personnel may also file a claim if they are within 180 days of discharge.
Veterans who are not experiencing symptoms should enroll in VA health care by the October deadline if they believe they could have been exposed to toxic substances during military service.
More Information for Veterans and Their Families:
More information, including benefits and eligibility information, can be found by visiting VA.gov/PACT or by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at 1-800-MyVA411 (698-2411).
Benefit claims can be filed online, by mail, in person or with the help of a trained professional from a Veteran Service Organization (VSO).
Veterans having difficulty with these or other claims with the VA can also contact Congressman Carbajal by calling or writing to his office.
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