The Veterans Administration extended the deadline for submitting claims related to military personnels’ toxic exposure in the 1990s and 2000s.
Originally set for Aug. 8, the deadline has been pushed to Aug. 14 at 11:59 pm, due to technical problems experienced by veterans attempting to file their claims on the VA’s website.
The initial cutoff date marked the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, known as the PACT Act.
This legislation, signed into law by President Biden on Aug. 10, 2022, is meant to address health problems of veterans exposed to toxic substances, particularly those who served near open-air burn pits during the 1990s and the conflicts that came after Sept. 11, 2001.
The burn pits, used for disposing of garbage, fuel, and other materials, have been linked to various health issues, including cancer, respiratory problems, and chronic lung ailments.
The PACT Act acknowledged the association between exposure to toxic fumes and health problems and expanded health care eligibility for post-9/11 combat veterans by adding 23 conditions related to burn pits and toxic exposures to the VA’s list of service presumed illnesses or ailments.
Over 458,000 claims out of more than 843,000 submitted have been processed, resulting in over $1.85 billion in benefits being provided to veterans and their survivors.
This week, the VA’s online claims submission website was plagued by technical difficulties, leaving many veterans unable to file their claims on time.
The VA has let veterans know that any “intent to file” submissions that were met with error messages would still be considered complete, and no veteran or survivor would miss out on benefits due to these technical problems.