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    VA to Begin Processing Burn Pit and Related Claims Under Landmark PACT Act on Jan. 1

    VA to Begin Processing Burn Pit and Related Claims Under Landmark PACT Act on Jan. 1

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will the new year processing nearly one-quarter of a million claims for disability compensation under legislation that expanded coverage for veterans sickened by environmental exposures in combat zones.

    VA officials said Thursday that the department has received more than 213,000 claims related to the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, or , Act, signed into law in August and will begin processing them beginning Jan. 1.

    Under the legislation, veterans may be eligible for disability benefits if they served overseas in certain areas where the U.S. burned trash in massive open air burn pits, or they were exposed to Agent Orange or other contaminants in certain parts of the world.

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    The VA began accepting claims this fall, but unless veterans were terminally ill, those claims couldn't be processed until next year. The agency had granted benefits worth $3.4 million to 200 veterans who were terminally ill as of Dec. 22.

    In total, the department has received more than 2,600 claims from dying veterans and is “actively working on the remainder,” according to Joshua Jacobs, VA's senior adviser for policy.

    “Since the law was enacted in August, we've been doing everything we can to expedite the processing of claims and make sure that we're prepared to start delivering benefits to veterans who've been waiting in many cases for…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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