(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester released the following statement today after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will expand and extend VA health care eligibility for certain veterans of the Vietnam War, Gulf Wars and Post-9/11 era starting October 1st under the Senator’s historic Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act:
“This is welcome news for generations of toxic-exposed veterans across the country who will see expanded health care eligibility under the monumental PACT Act. By expanding health care to multiple eras of veterans, VA is making good progress on our collective goal of increasing veterans’ access to their earned health care and benefits. While there’s still work to be done in keeping our end of the bargain to the men and women who served, I encourage every eligible veteran to apply for their needed support as soon as possible.”
As the only member of the Montana delegation who sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Tester worked for years alongside Veterans Service Organizations and his Senate colleagues to deliver comprehensive toxic exposure relief to the nation’s veterans. Named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service, Tester’s PACT Act was comprehensive legislation to provide health care for Post-9/11 combat veterans, create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure, expand VA’s list of service presumptions, and improve resources to support claims processing.
Following sustained efforts from Tester, President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10th—authorizing VA to deliver generations of toxic-exposed veterans their earned health care and benefits for the first time in the nation’s history. Since it was signed into law, VA has received more than 70,000 PACT Act-related claims.
Veterans can apply today for health care at VA.gov/PACT and learn more about what this law means for them and their families.