The PACT Act helps advance a top VA priority: getting more veterans into VA care by expanding eligibility for, and the availability of, health care services for veterans. The law expands health care eligibility to various groups of veterans who may not have been eligible before and requires VA to phase in hospital care, medical services and nursing home care for any illness to three new categories of veterans.
» CATEGORY 1: Veterans who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (as defined by law) while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
» CATEGORY 2: Veterans assigned to a duty station in (including airspace above) certain locations during specific periods:
- On or after August 2, 1990, in: Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia or the United Arab Emirates
- On or after September 11, 2001, in: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, or any other country determined relevant by VA.
» CATEGORY 3: Veterans who deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, or Resolute Support Mission.
» EFFECTIVE UPON IMPLEMENTATION (10 AUGUST 2022):
Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam (from 1/9/62–5/7/75), Thailand at any American or Royal Thai base (from 1/9/62–6/30/76), Laos ( from 12) /1/65–9/30/69), certain provinces in Cambodia (from 4/16/69–4/30/69), Guam, or American Samoa or their territorial waters (from 1/9/ 62–7/ 31/80), or the Johnston Atoll or a ship that called there (from 1/1/72–9/30/77) can enroll in VA health care.
» BETWEEN 1 OCTOBER 2022 AND 1 OCTOBER 2023:
Veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War or in combat against an enemy force during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998, and who were discharged between September 11 or were released, 2001, and October 1, 2013, can enroll in VA health care. Enrollment is free, there are no annual fees, and care can be free too.