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Largest expansion ever of veteran health care

Dear Friend,
Starting today, March 5, all veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. This is thanks to the PACT Act, which I fought hard to pass into law. I encourage all veterans who were exposed to toxins through your service to apply for immediate health care and benefits at or by calling 1-800-MYVA411.
We have a responsibility to keep our nation’s promise to our service members and their families. Passing the PACT Act was an important part of keeping that promise. It was also the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history.

The Constituent Services Representatives in my offices in New Mexico have helped hundreds of veterans across our state access their VA care and benefits and are ready to assist you. Whether you or a family member is having trouble filing a claim, receiving benefits, accessing health benefits or military records, replacing medals, or other veterans issues, you can contact my office by calling (505) 346-6601 or by visiting the Veterans Resources Center on my website.
PACT Act Press Conference
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks at a press conference after the Senate voted on final passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, August 2, 2022.
The PACT Act is delivering for our nation’s veterans 
The PACT Act is providing long overdue recognition, health screenings, and treatment through the VA for toxic exposure related conditions. The PACT Act added 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to the VA’s presumption list. And it expanded care benefits for more than 3 million toxic-exposed and post-9/11 combat veterans.
Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law in August 2022, more than 112,000 veterans have enrolled in VA health care under a PACT Act enrollment authority. VA has also received more than 1.4 million PACT Act-related claims and more than 694,000 veterans and survivors are receiving PACT Act-related benefits.
When I worked on the PACT Act, I thought about what it will mean for all of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and Post-9/11 veterans in New Mexico who have struggled with toxic exposure related health conditions. I also thought about my own father who was exposed to two nuclear detonations in the South Pacific when he was serving in the Navy back in the 1950s. That exposure caught up with him late in his life in a number of health conditions.
My dad’s experience really drove home for me a hard lesson: We send our service members to war, and then they often bring home wounds that are not always easy to see. In the case of exposure to burn pits or Agent Orange, so many of our former service members have to literally fight for their next breath.
These heroic veterans should not have to fight through red tape to access health coverage at the VA. That’s exactly why I worked so hard to pass the PACT Act and keep our promise to veterans.
United States Senator