Letter: Veterans are eligible for backdated benefits, but must act quickly

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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The parcel owned by the U.S. government that holds the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and related buildings is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2022.

Last year the Congress passed the PACT Act with wide reaching impact on current conflict veterans and veterans going back to the Vietnam War. There are important deadlines approaching that could affect up to one year’s worth of VA Compensation benefits.

The PACT Act law was signed by President Biden on Aug. 10, 2022. If Veterans apply for VA Compensation and are approved by Aug. 9, their benefits will be retroactive back to August 2022. The Act not only affects VA Compensation but also access to VA Healthcare.

The PACT Act will: expand and extend eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras; add 20+ more presumptive conditions for burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic exposures; add more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation; and require VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care.

I urge any Veteran who served in the Middle East or Vietnam to contact a Service Officer with The American Legion, DAV or VFW or the State Veterans Office to determine if you should file a claim for VA Compensation. These services are free, do not pay anyone to file for the benefits you have earned through your service.

Terry Schow, South Ogden

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