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To qualify for retroactive pay from PACT Act benefits applications must be received by August 9

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - The window to apply for benefits and qualify for retroactive pay through the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT) Act is closing in August.

This act expands medical coverage and pay for veterans who were harmed by toxic exposure in the Gulf War, the Vietnam War, and the post-9/11 eras. The full list of qualifying deployments can be found here.

The PACT Act also can compensate those left behind by veterans exposed to these toxic chemicals.

"It's also for the surviving spouse of a veteran," Marshal Bosworth, El Paso county Veteran service officer said. "So if there is a veteran, for example, that served in Thailand and they may have passed away from an Agent Orange-related disability, but they were consistently denied by the VA, that law is now changed."

Military relations or veterans can qualify for a year's worth of back pay from when the bill began - in August of last year.

"As a matter of fact, one of my veteran service officers just told me yesterday one of his clients was finally approved for hers and is getting $100,000 retroactive pay," Bosworth said.

People can apply through the VA website, and schedule their screening for toxic exposure here.

However, getting benefits may not be very straightforward. There is a requirement to visit the VA office during their business hours to fully evaluate the extent of benefits that a veteran may qualify for.

The El Paso County office is staying open until 8 p.m. on August 7, 8, and 9 to make sure that everyone who can qualify can get access to their benefits.

If veterans who think they may qualify can not make it into the VA office during open hours, they can file an "intent to file" form, which will help them make the deadline for retroactive benefits.

"But it's important that as many people do one of those two things before the 10th of August because that's when they're going to lose out on potentially a year of benefits," Bosworth said.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there is no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits, however, if you apply for PACT Act-related benefits before Aug. 9, your benefits if eligible will be backdated to Aug. 22, 2022 - the day the bill was signed into law.

The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) is hosting its VetFest event on July 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora. There veterans can explore PACT Act-related benefits.

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Emily Coffey

Emily is a Reporter for KRDO. Learn more about her here.


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