All Toxic-Exposed Veterans Can Now Apply for VA Health Care

Starting today, all veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards during their military service can now enroll in VA Health Care without applying for VA benefits first. 

This expansion means that millions of veterans are now eligible for VA Health Care that were not before.

Toxin- and hazard-exposed veterans include all Vietnam Veterans, all Gulf War Veterans, all veterans deployed to any combat zone after 9/11, and more. Veterans who only served stateside also qualify if they participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (TERA). 

This change is a result of the PACT Act, which was signed into law in 2022. The PACT Act instructed the VA to phase in access to VA Health Care for toxic-exposed veterans over the course of 10 years. 

The VA, however, has accelerated the timeline and is now granting all eligible veterans access to VA Health Care 8 years earlier than legally required. 

Dr. Elnahal, the VA Under Secretary for Health, commented, “We’re making millions of Veterans eligible for VA health care years earlier than called for by the PACT Act. … We want to bring all of these Veterans to VA for the care they’ve earned and deserve.”

All eligible veterans can now enroll in VA Health Care without having to apply for VA Disability first. 

To be eligible, veterans must have been exposed to one or more toxins or hazards during their military career, including:

  • Burn pits
  • Herbicides, including Agent Orange
  • Pesticides
  • Sand, dust, and particulates
  • Oil well fires
  • Sulfur fires
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Warfare agents
  • Depleted uranium
  • Other Chemicals
  • Other occupational hazards

A full list of qualifying military exposures can be found here, including exposures in specific wars and operations. 

If you were exposed to toxins or hazards during your military service, you can now apply for VA Health Care

You may also qualify for VA Disability benefits if you have developed any of the medical conditions on the VA Presumptive Lists for these exposures. 

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