The PACT Act delivered significant benefits to veterans of the Gulf War and the War on Terror who were exposed to toxic burn pits. By making certain cancers that these veterans are diagnosed with following their service presumptive conditions, the PACT Act, in theory, makes disability benefits more accessible to a wider number of veterans.
In practice, even the PACT Act does not guarantee a veteran will receive benefits for their service-connected cancer diagnosis. That has been the experience of several veterans who, although diagnosed with qualifying cancer, have still found themselves unable to access the benefits that the PACT Act was designed to provide them with.
What Cancers are Now Presumptive Conditions?
Over 20 illnesses and medical conditions were made presumptive conditions under the PACT Act, including numerous cancers linked to toxic burn pit exposure. These cancers include:
- Brain cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Head cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Neck cancer
- Reproductive cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer
- Respiratory cancer
These are not all of the now-presumptive conditions connected to toxic burn pit exposure. Veterans who developed chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other conditions are also now presumptively eligible for disability benefits.
A Presumptive Condition Does Not Guarantee an Approved Claim
Unfortunately, having a presumptive condition that develops after your time in the military does not guarantee that you are able to receive VA disability benefits. If the VA believes that your condition was caused by something other than toxic burn pit exposure or your military service, your claim can be denied.
For example, suppose you develop asthma following your military service in the Gulf War or during the War on Terror. After reviewing your medical records, the VA determines that some cause other than your military service or your work around toxic burn pits is the reason you developed asthma. Or, the VA could conclude that your asthma was a preexisting condition and deny your disability claim on that ground.
Do Not Take Your Benefits for Granted
The VA boasts that nearly 80 percent of PACT Act claims are approved, which means that about two out of every ten are denied. Just because you have a presumptive condition does not mean you should neglect to put together and present the best claim you can. Nor should you accept a denial of your claim and do nothing. When the VA makes an erroneous decision on your claim, it falls to you and your veterans disability claim lawyer to correct the injustice.
Reach Out to Your San Francisco Veterans Lawyer Today
If you have questions about the PACT Act, or if you received a denial letter from the VA despite having a presumptive condition, do not let another day go by without speaking with Unruh Law. Our experienced veterans disability claim lawyer can not only advise you of your rights but help you take action with the VA unfairly and unlawfully denies your claim.
You can easily get in touch with Unruh Law online or by calling (833) 753-5168.