Breaking News
More () »

Waco VA hosts Pact Act informational clinics

Claims processors were available to answer questions and provide assistance for filing Pact Act claims.

WACO, Texas — The Waco Veteran Affairs Regional Office conducted a PACT Act Claims Clinics to provide an overview of the PACT Act. 

Claims processors were available to answer questions and provide assistance for filing a claim.

"We're trying to get the information out to as many veterans as possible. these events that we are running today, and will be running throughout the state of Texas over the next several weeks," Waco VA executive director Michael B. Crouse shared.

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances.

The PACT Act adds to the list of health conditions that are assumed to be caused by exposure to certain substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

Army veteran Sid Hamid has been paying for hospital bills out of pocket since 2017 and has spent over $100,000. He applied for the Pact Act as soon as it became available but is now just waiting on getting approved. This process could take months, sometimes even years.

"He served in Iraq and Afghanistan and did multiple deployments during the time frame the legislation covers. He's been diagnosed with six of those 23 diseases. We just don't know how long it's going to take to get our benefits. Some veterans have had to wait decades. In the meantime, we just have to keep paying for it out of pocket," Hamid's wife Melissa Hamid said.

The time frame of when veterans are approved for their benefits varies with different cases.

According to Veteran Life, here is the list of diseases covered in the Pact Act.

Presumptive cancers:

  • Brain cancer.
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type.
  • Glioblastoma.
  • Head cancer of any type.
  • Kidney cancer.
  • Lymphatic cancer of any type.
  • Lymphoma of any type.
  • Melanoma.
  • Neck cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Reproductive cancer of any type.
  • Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type.

Presumptive illnesses:

  • Asthma that was diagnosed after service.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Chronic rhinitis.
  • Chronic sinusitis.
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis.
  • Emphysema.
  • Granulomatous disease.
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD).
  • Pleuritis.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Sarcoidosis.

The VA claims to have completed roughly 33,276 claims at the time of writing, granting over 25,000 Veterans and their survivors' access to benefits for one or more conditions, providing over $93 million in retroactive benefit payments.

While the time frames of approvals vary, Crouse hopes more veterans still take advantage of the opportunity and learn if they qualify.

"I would highly encourage anybody that falls into this category to apply for benefits. Do it now. if they're eligible for benefits, we can pay them benefits back to the date the law was signed. So get your claims in as soon as possible," Crouse continued.

If you or any Veterans you know have been diagnosed with any of the following illnesses, you’re encouraged to contact the VA at 1 (800) 698-2411 or file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation online. Apply at VA health care now.

Before You Leave, Check This Out