The “special enrollment period” provided by the PACT Act will conclude on September 30. The one-year enrollment period is for Post-9/11 combat veterans who served between 2001 and 2013. The VA’s goal is to get those veterans who have been exposed to toxins while deployed into VA healthcare while the healthcare providers are especially aware of the toxic exposures.
Who Qualifies for the Special Enrollment Period?
According to the VA, veterans who served on active duty “in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War” can qualify if:
- they have never enrolled in VA healthcare
- they were discharged or released between September 11, 2001 and Oct. 1, 2013
Veterans who served “in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities” after November 11, 1998 may also qualify to enroll during this special period.
What is the PACT Act?
Passed in August 2022, the PACT Act expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to toxic substances, such as burn pits and Agent Orange. According to the VA’s website, the PACT Act:
- Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras;
- Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures;
- Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation;
- Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care;
- Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures
Since the PACT Act was passed, over 215,000 veterans have enrolled in VA healthcare. In addition, over 3 million veterans have been screened for toxic exposures, with about 42% of screened veterans reporting they experienced toxic exposure during their service.
How Do I Apply for VA Health Care?
Veterans who have not previously applied for VA health care can apply:
- Online at this link: https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction
- Over the phone at this number: 877-222-8387
- Through the mail by sending VA Form 10-10EZ to Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Road, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329
- In person at a VA medical clinic or center
We are Veterans Helping Veterans
The goal of our organization, the Veterans Legal Assistance Program, is to support both our active-duty and retired service members along with their families. We’ll keep you informed about the issues that affect you and your community, and we’ll connect you with people we trust.
We’ve got your six.