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Senator Hassan Applauds VA Secretary’s Announcement That the PACT Act’s New Toxic Exposure Presumptive Conditions Go into Effect Immediately

More Than 60,000 New Hampshire Veterans Stand to Benefit from the Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan applauded an announcement by the VA Secretary that the 23 toxic exposure conditions designated in Senator Hassan and colleagues’ PACT Act are effective now. Rather than phasing in the presumptions that these conditions are connected to military service over a longer period of time, the announcement provides veterans who served near open-air burn pits an easier path to access benefits right now. 

“This announcement is an important step to help veterans exposed to toxic substances access the benefits that they have earned and deserve,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan PACT Act - now law - takes meaningful, significant steps forward in transforming the way in which the VA will provide care for the many veterans exposed to toxic substances who have waited too long to receive benefits. The administration needs to keep doing everything it can to ensure timely, effective implementation, and I look forward to continuing to work with the VA as it implements our law.”

More than 60,000 veterans in New Hampshire stand to benefit from the law. The announcement will enable many veterans – including those who served near burn pits in the War on Terror or Desert Storm – to more quickly access the benefits in the law. 

Among its many priorities, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 that Senator Hassan and colleagues passed into law:

  • Expands VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
  • Creates a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
  • Adds 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions;
  • Expands presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure, including hypertension;
    • Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
  • Strengthens federal research on toxic exposure;
  • Improves VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans; and
  • Sets VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
    • VA claims processing;
    • VA’s workforce; and
    • VA health care facilities.