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VA Approves One Million Veteran Claims Under Tester’s PACT Act

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) news that the agency will grant its one millionth PACT Act disability claim today: “For far too long, our nation failed to honor its promises to our veterans exposed to toxins in military conflicts across the globe—until we fought like hell alongside veterans to finally get the PACT Act signed into law. Now, less than two years later, I’m proud to see this law is making a real difference in the lives of more than one million veterans and survivors, including Montanans like Marcus Raggio from Missoula who said his family is going to make it because of the PACT Act. This is exactly why veterans slept outside on the Capitol steps in the sweltering August heat until we got it done, and this milestone is further proof how this law is working for our veterans and their families.”

Tester championed the PACT Act and shepherded its passage through Congress in 2022. As Chairman, he fought tirelessly for years alongside veterans and Veterans Service Organizations in Montana and across the nation to deliver generations of toxic-exposed veterans and survivors their earned health care and benefits under the PACT Act. Named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service, this law provides health care for Post-9/11 combat veterans, creates a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure, expands VA’s list of health conditions presumed to be caused by toxic exposures, which opens the door to additional benefits for veterans, and improves resources to support claims processing.

Since the PACT Act was signed into law in August 2022, more than 142,000 veterans have enrolled in VA health care under a PACT Act enrollment authority. VA has also received more than 1.6 million PACT Act-related claims and more than one million veterans and survivors are receiving PACT Act-related benefits.

Toxic-exposed veterans and survivors can apply today for health care and benefits at or by calling 1-800-MYVA411.

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