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Deadline extended for veterans to file for full PACT Act benefits

Graphic from Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has extended its deadline to file a claim — or an intent to file — for PACT Act benefits backdated to Aug. 10 of last year.

Veterans and their survivors now have until 11:59 p.m. Monday to apply at va.gov for those benefits backdated to include the past year since President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law. Otherwise, they can apply for benefits at any time.

The PACT Act expands health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other dangerous substances. It has a list of health conditions -- including many cancers -- that are presumed to be caused by that exposure.

The previous deadline was Wednesday of this week. But the VA cited "technical difficulties" as last-minute applicants flooded the department website and many of them got error messages.

The VA says that anyone who received an error message has been logged into the system and the department is reaching out to them.

Most of the technical issues have been resolved, according toa VA statement. On Tuesday, 18% of those seeking to enter an "intent to file" received an error message.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, that was down to one tenth of one percent.

The department is also working to reduce "abnormally long call center wait times" for those calling in.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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