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Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits


A new law called the PACT Act just expanded VA health care and benefits for millions of Veterans and their survivors.

VA will begin processing PACT Act-related claims on January 1, 2023.  Veterans have until September 30, 2023 to file a PACT Act-related claim. 

The Birmingham VA estimates that nearly 75,000 Veterans in Northern and parts of Central Alabama could apply. 

What is PACT Act and how does it affect you?

The PACT Act expands eligibility for VA health care to Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras. The PACT Act:

  • Added more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures.

  • Added more presumptive exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation.

We have information on these two changes to help you see how the PACT Act may affect your benefits.

For Vietnam-era Veterans

Vietnam-era Veterans who served in the following locations and time periods are eligible to apply for enrollment beginning now:

  • Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Thailand at any U.S. or Royal Thai base between Jan. 9, 1962, and June 30, 1976
  • Laos between Dec. 1, 1965, and Sept. 30, 1969
  • Certain provinces in Cambodia between April 16, 1969, and April 30, 1969
  • Guam or American Samoa (or their territorial waters) between Jan. 9, 1962, and July 31, 1980
  • Johnston Atoll (or a ship that called there) between Jan. 1, 1972, and Sept. 30, 1977

For Gulf War-era Veterans

Beginning Oct. 1, 2022, Gulf War-era Veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after the Persian Gulf War may be eligible to enroll in VA health care.

This also includes Veterans who, in connection with service during such period, received the following awards or recognitions:

  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Service Specific Expeditionary Medal
  • Combat Era Specific Expeditionary Medal
  • Campaign Specific Expeditionary Medal
  • Any other combat theater award established by Federal statute or Executive Order

For Post-9/11 Veterans

Post-9/11 Veterans discharged before Oct. 1, 2013, can enroll in VA health care during a special 1-year enrollment period between Oct. 1, 2022, and Oct. 1, 2023. To be eligible, one of the following must be true:

  • They served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War, or
  • They served in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after Nov. 11, 1998.

Toxic Exposure Screening

We’re here to help you understand how the PACT Act affects you. The Birmingham VA offers Toxic Exposure Screening (TES) to Veterans.  A TES is not the same as filing for service-connected benefits. The TES documents all potential toxic exposure in the Veterans health care record. The TES allows VA physicians to monitor a patients health condition and provide appropriate treatments, if necessary. Contact your VA primary care provider to schedule your TES or ask about the screening during your next appointment. 

Learn more about the PACT Act

Visit to get the latest information, file a claim online, or apply for VA health care.