, DC — Most Veterans who apply for PACT Act benefits by August 9 – or submit their intent to file – will have their benefits, if granted, backdated to August 10, 2022
In July, VA will kick off a PACT Act Summer VetFest to inform Veterans, their families, and survivors about the PACT Act and encourage them to apply for the health care and benefits they have earned. The PACT Act, which President Biden signed into law on August 10, 2022, is the biggest expansion of Veteran health care and benefits in generations.
Throughout July, VA will host 50+ Summer VetFest events across all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. The events will be casual summer gatherings featuring Veterans, their families, Veteran advocates, and the VA health care and benefits professionals who serve them. At the events, VA staff will be ready to help Veterans apply for PACT Act-related benefits (or submit an intent to file), enroll in VA health care, get screened for toxic exposures, and more.
VA encourages all eligible Veterans and survivors to file a claim — or submit their intent to file a claim — for PACT Act-related benefits now. Most Veterans who do so by August 9 will have their benefits, if granted, backdated to Aug. 10, 2022, the day that President Biden signed the bill into law.
"There are millions of Veterans and survivors across America who are eligible for new health care and benefits, and we will not rest until every one of them gets what they’ve earned,” said Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “That’s what this Summer VetFest is all about: educating Veterans, their families, and survivors – and encouraging them to apply today.”
Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law, VA has delivered more than $1.4 billion dollars in PACT Act benefits to Veterans. Additionally, more than 660,000 Veterans have applied for PACT Act-related benefits, more than 3.7 million Veterans have received the new toxic exposure screenings, and more than 287,000 Veterans have enrolled in VA health care (this is 40,000 more enrollments than during the same timeframe last year, and it includes 94,000 enrollees from the PACT Act target population) .
The PACT Act Summer VetFest is just one component of VA’s nationwide PACT Act Veteran outreach campaign, which is the largest coordinated outreach campaign in VA history. The campaign has one goal: ensuring that every eligible Veteran and survivor gets the PACT Act-related health care and benefits they have earned. Highlights of the campaign to date:
· VA.gov/PACT: Within one hour of the Senate passage of the PACT Act, VA launched VA.gov/PACT – a one-stop-shop for Veterans and survivors to learn about and apply for PACT Act-related care and benefits. Since then, the website has garnered more than 13.4 million page views from 10 million unique visitors.
· Earned Media: VA is executing an aggressive national and local earned media campaign, seeking to inform Veterans and survivors about the PACT Act and encourage them to apply. Between August 10, 2022 and June 9, 2023 these efforts have helped generate 30,000+ news articles and 24,000+ broadcast items about the PACT Act – with a total potential reach of 101.4 billion.
· Paid Media: VA is executing a nationwide, targeted advertising campaign across streaming video (Hulu, Roku, YouTube); print (Military Times, Military.com, USA Today); radio (satellite, traditional); podcasts; signage (including Times Square ads, DC Metro ads, airports, billboards, and more); sponsorships (such as Military and Armed Forces Bowls); digital advertising, including Search (Google and Bing), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, iHeartRadio, ESPN online, RallyPoint, and more. To date, VA has spent more than $7.5 million on PACT Act advertising, driving millions of visitors to VA.gov/PACT, and generating hundreds of millions of impressions. Through PSA distribution along with vendor negotiations, VA has also achieved $7.9 million in added value October 2022 through May 2023, more than doubling the media value of PACT Act efforts. By the August 9 filing deadline, we anticipate that VA will spend more
than $11.4 million. This campaign is focused on reaching all eligible Veterans and survivors, especially those who have not previously come to VA for benefits or care.
· Events: Since August 10, VA has hosted hundreds of PACT Act-related events across all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico with Veterans, their families, caregivers, survivors, and Veteran advocates. This includes a PACT Act Week of Action in December, when VA hosted more than 120 events across the nation. At the events, Veterans applied for benefits, got screened for toxic exposures, enrolled in VA health care, and learned more about what the PACT Act could mean for them and their families.
· Print, digital, and video resources: VA has developed a library of PACT Act flyers, videos, and fact sheets to help Veterans understand what this new law means for them. The videos have been viewed more than 4 million times across platforms, and the resources have been shared directly with Veterans, VA facilities, VSOs, and other partners nationwide. VA has also released PACT Act flyers and information in 10 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
· Direct mail: VA has sent more than 300 million PACT Act-related e-mails to Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors, which were opened more than 94 million times.
VA encourages all eligible Veterans and survivors to apply for their earned PACT Act-related health care and benefits now. Veterans and survivors can apply or learn more about the PACT Act by visiting VA.gov/PACT, by calling 1-800-MYVA411, or by attending one of this month’s events.
For more information about VA’s implementation of the PACT Act, visit the PACT Act Dashboard. VA is publishing this dashboard every other Friday to document the implementation of this legislation and showcase its impact on Veterans and survivors.