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VA Extends Deadline for Veterans, Survivors to Apply for PACT Act Benefits

VA announced that Veterans and survivors who apply, or submit their intent to file, for PACT Act benefits by 11:59pm ET on Monday, August 14, 2023 will be eligible to have their benefits backdated to August 10, 2022 – the day that President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law.

VA PACT ActThis is an extension from the original deadline of August 9, 2023. All Veterans and their survivors are encouraged to apply – or submit their intent to file – for PACT Act benefits now by visiting VA.gov/PACT.

VA has made this decision out of an abundance of caution after experiencing technical difficulties with VA.gov/PACT in recent days. Specifically, due to extremely high demand, some Veterans who have sought to submit their intent to file for PACT Act benefits have received error messages while doing so. Despite these messages, VA has successfully logged every one of these intents to file – meaning that every Veteran or survivor who has received an error message while applying for PACT Act benefits can consider their intent to file complete. “We are working to contact these individuals to confirm directly to them that their intent to file will be honored and their effective date protected,” the VA stated. “Most importantly, no Veteran or survivor will miss out on a single day of benefits due to this issue.”

The VA did have a high volume of calls to VA call centers throughout the week, and are working to decrease abnormally long call center wait times, saying they will continue to work on these issues and will not rest until they are fully resolved.

The VA has sent out communications from all channels to reassure Veterans and survivors that they would not miss out on their earned benefits due to this issue, and put an emergency banner on the VA website to tell Veterans and survivors that their intents to file will be honored. The VA changed the intent to file error message to confirm that, despite the error message, the intent to file has been saved. Finally, the VA also communicated with Veterans directly on social media, via email, and through coordination with Congressional leaders and Veterans Service Organizations to reflect the extended deadline for Veterans and survivors to apply for benefits backdated to August 10, 2022.

“We at VA will continue to encourage Veterans and their survivors to immediately file their PACT Act claims — or submit their intents to file — at VA.gov/PACT,” the VA stated. “With the extended deadline, Veterans and survivors who do so by 11:59PM ET on Monday, August 14, 2023 may receive benefits backdated to August 10, 2022.”

President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on Aug. 10, 2022. Partly due to this historic law, VA is delivering more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before. Key results to date include:

  • Delivering benefits to Veterans and their survivors: VA has delivered more than $1.85 billion in earned PACT Act benefits to Veterans and their survivors. VA is delivering these benefits to Veterans at the fastest rate in our nation’s history, processing 1.65 million total Veteran claims thus far in this fiscal year (including 458,659 PACT Act claims) — 16% more year-to-date than the previous all-time record.
  • Increasing Veteran access to health care: Since August 10, 332,252 Veterans have enrolled in VA health care — which is nearly 50,000 more enrollees than during the previous year. This includes more than 113,719 enrollees from the PACT Act population (Vietnam, Gulf War, and Post-9/11 Veterans).
  • Screening Veterans for toxic exposures: More than 4.1 million Veterans have received free, 10-minute screenings for toxic exposures from VA under the PACT Act — a critical step to catching and treating potentially life-threatening health conditions as early as possible.
  • Spreading the word to Veterans and their survivors: Thanks to the largest outreach campaign in VA history, Veterans and survivors are applying for their earned benefits at record rates. In this fiscal year, Veterans and survivors have submitted 1.95 million total claims (including 843,448 PACT Act-specific claims) — 37% more than last year and on pace to break an all-time record. Veterans have also submitted 1.65 million “intents to file” during this fiscal year — 44% more than last year and also on pace to break an all-time record.

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