Opinion & Editorial

VA needs employees to handle PACT Act

By Freddy Groves  

PACT is officially up and running as of the first of the year. PACT, aka Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, extends health care and benefits to veterans who were exposed to toxins around the globe and who subsequently became ill with an expanded number of presumptives. 

The key feature of PACT is that veterans no longer have to fight to prove where their illness came from. It’s “presumed” the illness was the result of the toxins in the environment where they served.

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been on a massive hiring blitz to fill positions in support of the new PACT Act. These positions will be all across the U.S. and Puerto Rico at all 56 regional offices. Not only do they need people to process the 175,000 claims that have been submitted since August (when the PACT Act was signed into law), but they need the people who give the actual support care.

If you, a spouse, a caregiver, a survivor or family member are interested in signing on for a position, check usajobs.gov and search for “veterans service representative” or “rating veterans service representative.”

The first step as part of the big push at the VA is to process the claims for veterans who are terminally ill, something the VA actually started weeks before the official Jan. 1 date. 

Additionally they will prioritize claims by homeless veterans, those over 85 years of age, those with cancer, those experiencing financial hardship and those who are recipients of a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor. 

If you need to learn how to file a claim, go to VA.gov/PACT or call them at 800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411). A caregiver, survivor or family member can also make the call for the veteran.

To learn more about PACT, go to VA.gov/PACT and read “The PACT Act and your VA benefits.”

(c) 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.



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