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NEW: VA Expands PACT Act Health Care Coverage Years Ahead of Schedule

Expansion Begins March 5; Comes After Implementation of the PACT Act, Which Senator Hassan Helped Negotiate and Pass into Law

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that starting next Tuesday March 5, 2024, veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service will be able to enroll in VA health care – years earlier than expected. This expansion is required by the PACT Act, which Senator Hassan helped develop and pass into law, and the VA moved quickly to implement it – opening up new eligibility for health care up to eight years ahead of schedule.

The VA’s announcement means that veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11 and were exposed to toxic substances will be eligible to enroll in VA health care starting March 5. Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty in the U.S. will also be eligible to enroll. Veterans eligible for VA health care under these authorities do not have to apply for VA benefits before enrolling.

“The VA’s decision to expand health care coverage years ahead of schedule is great news,” said Senator Hassan. “This expansion will be a game-changer for veterans in New Hampshire and across the country who were exposed to toxic substances during their service, getting them much needed health care that they have earned and deserve.”

The bipartisan PACT Act, which Senator Hassan helped develop and pass into law in 2022, is a historic bill that fundamentally reforms and improves how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive health care and benefits from the VA. Since the passage of the law, more than 1,700 New Hampshire veterans have already enrolled in VA health care and more than 4,500 PACT Act-related disability claims have been filed in New Hampshire.

Veterans exposed to toxic substances and their survivors can apply for health care and benefits at or by calling 1-800-MYVA411.