Important Update: The VA is still encouraging any veteran who may qualify for PACT Act benefits to apply soon. The deadline for obtaining retroactive pay backdated to August 2022 was August 14th, 2023. Veterans and survivors who missed that deadline can still file for monthly disability support, but if payouts are granted they will begin on the day of their filing.
In case you missed it, President Biden announced in 2022 that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expanding benefits to veterans who have developed certain respiratory cancers because of their links to exposure to toxic burn pits.
The VA confirmed they are adding nine burn pit-related respiratory cancers to the list of military service-connected disabilities.
The move will make victims eligible for veterans benefits.
In his announcement, Biden stated: “In my State of the Union address, I announced that we would propose expanding disability and health benefits to veterans suffering from nine rare respiratory cancers. Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs is delivering on that promise and upholding that sacred obligation to the women and men who have worn the uniform of our country.”
The nine cancers being added to the list are:
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea
- Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
- Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
- Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
- Large cell carcinoma of the lung
- Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
- Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
- Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung
VA will begin processing disability compensation claims for Veterans who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990, to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001, to the present.
Any Veteran who has or had one of the listed cancers at any time during or after separation from military service may be eligible for disability compensation benefits. VA will contact impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and will provide information on how to apply.via U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Biden has previously said he suspected burn pits to be the cause of his son’s brain cancer that led to his death.
“We don’t know for sure if a burn pit was the cause of [Beau’s] brain cancer, or the diseases of so many of our troops,” Biden said. “But I’m committed to finding out everything we can.”
This article originally appeared on USMilitary.org and has been republished with permission.