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The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center will NOT be fully operational on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in observance of the Juneteenth federal holiday. Administrative offices, local VA clinics, the VA Pharmacy, and appointment rescheduling will not be available on June 19th. For emergencies, dial 911.

New VA Health Eligibility Under the PACT Act

Veteran Information Session: New VA Health Care Eligibility Under the PACT Act (Presented Live on May 14, 2024.)

2024 PACT Act Health Care Eligibility: What Changed?

  • Under the PACT Act, all toxic exposed Veterans were supposed to become eligible for VA care – in increments – between now and 2032. 
  • VA eliminated the phased-in approach – meaning that three new cohorts of Veterans are now eligible to enroll in VA health care as of March 5, 2024. 

Veterans must first meet the minimum active-duty service and discharge requirements to qualify for VA health care under PACT Act authorities.


Newly Eligible Veteran Cohorts 

  • Veterans who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (TERA), as defined by law, while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
  • Veterans who were assigned to a duty station in (including airspace above) certain locations during specific periods of time: 
    • On or after August 2, 1990, in the following countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or the United Arab Emirates
    • On or after September 11, 2001, in the following countries: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, or any other country determined relevant by VA. (Note: VA has not determined any other country relevant at this time.)
  • Veterans who were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, and Resolute Support Mission.

What Is Considered a TERA?

VA has determined that Veterans who were exposed to one or more of the following hazards or conditions during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training participated in a TERA:

  • Air pollutants (burn pits, sand, dust, particulates, oil well fires, sulfur fires).
  • Chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, depleted uranium with embedded shrapnel, contaminated water).
  • Occupational hazards (asbestos, industrial solvents, lead, paints including chemical agent resistant coating, firefighting foams).
  • Radiation (nuclear weapons handling, maintenance and detonation, radioactive material, calibration and measurement sources, X-rays, nuclear weapon technicians and dental technicians, served on nuclear submarine and other nuclear ships or in shipyards, or were involved in nuclear weapons handling and maintenance, including clean-up after accidents).
  • Warfare agents (nerve agents, chemical and biological weapons). 

This is not a comprehensive list, and there’s no timeline. Veterans can view additional military exposure categories on VA’s Public Health website at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/.


Vietnam Era Veteran VA Health Care Eligibility

Veterans who served in the following locations and time periods are also eligible to enroll in VA health care effective on enactment (August 10, 2022):

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

VA Health Care Eligibility FAQs

  • What are the minimum active-duty service requirements for VA health care? 
    • In general, Veterans must have served 24 months of continuous active duty or  the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty. 
  • Former members of the Reserves or National Guard are eligible for VA health care if they have qualifying service (as described above) and meet one of the health care eligibility requirements in the PACT Act. Former members of the Reserves or National Guard who only served for training purposes may not be able to establish Veteran status if they did not incur a qualifying disability during such training. 
  • Some exceptions apply. Please visit www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility for more information.
  • What are the exceptions to the minimum active-duty service requirements for VA health care?
    • The minimum active-duty service requirement for VA health care may not apply if any of these are true:
      • The Veteran was discharged or released for a qualifying reason (e.g., early discharge, hardship, medical discharge).
      • The Veteran was discharged for a disability that was caused—or made worse—by active-duty service.
      • The Veteran served prior to the early 1980s.
    • VA encourages all Veterans to apply to determine their enrollment eligibility. Please visit www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility for more information.

Apply for VA Health Care in 4 Easy Ways

  1. Online: https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction
  2. By calling the toll-free hotline:
  3. By mailing VA Form 10-10EZ to: 

    Health Eligibility Center
    PO Box 5207
    Janesville, WI 53547-5207

  4. In person at the nearest VA medical center 

    Baltimore VA Medical Center

    Perry Point VA Medical Center

Why Choose VA?

  • VA provides the best and most affordable health care for Veterans in America – and this is your chance to apply.   
  • Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than those who get their care elsewhere. And this year alone, VA has beaten non-VA hospitals in quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings.  
  • That’s because our clinicians know Veterans – they often are Veterans – and they know exactly how to help.  
  • And VA health care isn’t only the best option for Veterans – it’s often the most affordable – with copays as low as $0 for prescriptions, urgent care, outpatient care, and more for some Veterans at VA.   
  • So don’t wait – get the world-class care you’ve earned.

If you previously applied and were not found eligible for VA health care (due     to income, lack of service-connection or other factors), you may now be eligible. But it won’t happen automatically. You must reapply or call for     a reassessment.


VA Toxic Exposure Screening Quick Facts

Who: All Veterans enrolled in VA health care.

What: A brief screening averaging 5–10 minutes to identify and document any potential exposures to toxins during military service. 

When: At least once every 5 years. 

Where: At VA medical centers/clinics, including virtual encounters.

Why: To support the long-term health plan of the Veteran—ensuring they receive informed, whole-health care—and connect them with follow-up resources as requested.

  • Exposure-Informed Care

Expanding Presumptions of Service Connection

The PACT Act establishes presumptions of service connection for more than 20 presumptive disease categories related to toxic exposures.

Asthma diagnosed after service Brain cancer Chronic bronchitis Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Chronic rhinitis Chronic sinusitis Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis Emphysema Gastrointestinal cancer of any type Glioblastoma Granulomatous disease Head cancer of any type Interstitial lung disease (ILD) Kidney cancer Lymphoma of any type Melanoma Neck cancer Pancreatic cancer Pleuritis Pulmonary fibrosis Reproductive cancer of any type Respiratory cancer of any type Sarcoidosis
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) High blood pressure (also called hypertension)

Filing and Processing Claims Associated with the PACT Act

VA will contact Veterans when a presumption of service connection is established or changed. Veterans can learn more at www.va.gov/PACT.  

However, Veterans who were previously denied a toxic-exposure-related claim are encouraged to file a supplemental claim using VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim. Most claims that were previously denied will not be automatically reviewed under the PACT Act.  Survivors who were previously denied dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), related to any of the new presumptive conditions, are likewise encouraged to re-file a claim.

Veterans who have not previously filed a claim and are diagnosed with one of the new presumptive conditions and meet eligibility requirements should submit a new claim on VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. Survivors who have not previously filed a claim and meet eligibility requirements should submit a new claim on VA Form 21P-534EZ, Application for DIC, Survivors Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits.

Veterans should be prepared to submit any supportive medical and lay evidence along with their claims.


Next Steps

Learn more about the PACT Act:
www.va.gov/PACT 

Apply for VA health care:
Apply For Health Care | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)

Submit a VBA claim:
File for disability compensation with VA Form 21-526EZ

Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry:
Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (va.gov)

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