Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement about today’s deadline for toxic-exposed veterans to receive retroactive PACT Act benefits.
“One year ago, I helped get the PACT Act signed into law to provide expanded health care and benefits to the millions of veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances while serving abroad. While there is no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits, today is the last day for toxin-exposed veterans to apply to receive a year’s worth of retroactive PACT Act benefits dating back to August 10th, 2022. I urge anyone who was exposed to burn pits to submit your claim or intent to file a claim at VA.gov/PACT by tonight’s deadline or to contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.”
Gillibrand first introduced the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act in September 2020, alongside a bicameral group that included Representative Raul Ruiz (D-CA), comedian Jon Stewart, activist John Feal, and a strong coalition of veterans service organizations. The group introduced an updated, bipartisan version in the spring of 2021 together with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
In May 2022, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran announced a bipartisan deal on toxic exposure legislation, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. Gillibrand’s Presumptive Benefits bill formed the cornerstone of the presumptive care section of the final package. The final bill passed the Senate by a vote of 86-11 and was signed into law by President Biden on August 10th, 2022.