The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved nearly 80% of the 570,000 claims it has adjudicated under the PACT Act, distributing more than $2.2 billion in disability compensation to veterans or survivors since it began accepting claims last year.
Of the total claims, however, 34% have received a 0% disability rating, meaning that affected veterans have at least one service-connected condition under the law that is not disabling — for example, hypertension, which has been linked to Agent Orange exposure, that is controlled by medication.
The VA is now reviewing its ratings schedule to determine whether it can revise it to address medically controlled conditions such as hypertension, VA Under Secretary for Benefits Joshua Jacobs told reporters Thursday.
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With veterans service organizations and many affected veterans raising concerns about the 0% disability ratings they have received, Jacobs asked his staff “to explore whether we have the flexibility to consider revising the ratings schedule.”
The review will include examining medical research and published studies and working with the Veterans Health Administration to determine how to proceed, Jacobs said.
The VA has received more than 1 million PACT Act-related claims and has processed roughly 570,000, according to Jacobs. Nearly 1.3 million…