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PACT Act VA Health Care Benefits

Dear Friend,

Starting on October 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expanding and extending eligibility for VA health care for certain Veterans of the Vietnam War, Gulf Wars and post-9/11 era under the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. Finally, so many generations of veterans who were exposed to toxins through their service will receive the VA health care and benefits that they have long deserved.

While the expansion of PACT Act-related health care eligibility is staggered over the coming years, VA has made all conditions outlined in the PACT Act presumptive for benefits as of August 10, the day President Biden signed the bill into law. Eligible Veterans and survivors are encouraged to apply for those benefits now at

Post-9/11 Veterans who did not previously enroll in VA health care will have a 1-year window to enroll if they:

  • Served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War, or
  • Served in a combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after Nov. 11, 1998, and
  • Were discharged or released from active service between Sept. 11, 2001, and Oct. 1, 2013.

The following groups of Veterans will also be eligible for care:

  • Veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War. This includes Veterans who, in connection with service during such period, received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Service Specific Expeditionary Medal, Combat Era Specific Expeditionary Medal, Campaign Specific Medal, or any other combat theater award established by federal statute or executive order.
  • Vietnam-era Veterans who served in the following locations and time periods: The Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975; Thailand at any U.S. or Royal Thai base between Jan. 9, 1962, and June 30, 1976; Laos between Dec. 1, 1965, and Sept. 30, 1969; Certain provinces in Cambodia between April 16, 1969, and April 30, 1969; Guam or American Samoa (or their territorial waters) between Jan. 9, 1962, and July 31, 1980; Johnston Atoll (or on a ship that called there) between Jan. 1, 1972, and Sept. 30, 1977.

Over the years, the Constituent Services Representatives in my offices in New Mexico have helped hundreds of veterans all across our state access their VA care and benefits. We stand ready to assist New Mexico veterans as they navigate the VA claims process for PACT Act benefits. You can find helpful information about veteran and military benefits and request assistance by visiting the Veterans Resource Center on my website or by calling my office at (505) 346-6601.

The PACT Act is about keeping our promise to our nation’s veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for this country. The long overdue recognition, screening, and treatment from the VA for toxic exposure related conditions will undoubtedly change the lives of so many heroic veterans.


United States Senator