WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — After the PACT Act passed this summer, it opened a new avenue for veterans suffering from cancer due to toxic exposures. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs wanted to do more to get help faster.
“We need to provide them with what they need now,” VA publicist Terrence Hayes said.
The VA says it will now fast-track claims to ensure veterans with cancer from toxic exposures have access to care.
“It was going to be a phased approach over several years, until 2025. The president, President Biden, Secretary McDonough said no, that’s not enough,” Hayes said.
Hayes said all PACT-related claims will be processed beginning Jan. 1, providing coverage for more than 20 new presumptive conditions.
“No proof is required. The bottom line is, if you have any of these conditions, come see us for health care, but also file your claim for benefits today, so you can get the benefits. that you won,” Hayes said.
Veterans have already filed 14,000 claims since the PACT Act was passed. To manage this increase in claims, the VA is hiring more staff in its regional offices.
“Once we get those people on board, we’ll train, educate and onboard them so we can get it right the first time,” Hayes said.
Toxic exposure screenings will take place every five years, but if veterans notice any signs, they can seek immediate help.
“Raise your hand the moment they see something that can potentially be related to their serve,” Hayes said.
Hayes says there are thousands of veterans who still haven’t purchased coverage or filed a claim. He urges those who do, to reach out to their military colleagues.
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