How To Register For Your Burn Pit VA Benefits

How To Register For Your Burn Pit VA Benefits

Follow These Three Steps To Get Your Burn Pit Benefits

If you’re a Veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for PACT Act-related benefits through the burn pit registration process. Having called the VA on this, their operators are still waiting on more details on how to process your claim, but you should start the burn pit registration process now. Before you file a burn pit claim, you have to register on the Burn Pit registry, then file a claim, and you then have the option to register with the VA. Veterans that receive a 50% or  higher disability rating are automatically register with the VA.

You can access the Burn Pit application here.

File a claim here.

You can register with the VA here. This is not required and you do not have to have been exposed to specific airborne hazards or have related health concerns to participate in the registry.

You can learn more about the PACT Act at VA.gov/PACT or by calling 1-800-MyVA411

Note: you do not have to registered with the VA to open a Burn Pit PACT Act claim. Nor do you have to have the previously required 60% disability rating. The PACT Act now classifies Burn Pit claims as presumptive meaning you no longer need to get medical approval to prove it was service related.

You are eligible to participate in the registry if you were deployed to the Southwest Asia theater of operations or Egypt any time after August 2, 1990 or Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, or Uzbekistan on or after September 11, 2001.

Regions and countries include: Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Djibouti, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, waters of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Egypt.

Operations and campaigns include: Desert Shield and Desert Storm (ODS/S), Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Enduring Freedom (OEF), and New Dawn (OND).

You do not have to have been exposed to specific airborne hazards or have related health concerns to participate in the registry.

The PACT Act Defined: What It All Means

The PACT Act is perhaps the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history. The full name of the law is The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

The PACT Act will bring these changes:

  • Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
  • Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
  • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
  • Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care
  • Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures 

What Is a Burn Pit?

A burn pit is an area devoted to open-air combustion of trash. The use of burn pits was a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Smoke from these pits contained substances that may have short- and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for long periods or those more
prone to illness such as individuals with pre-existing asthma or other lung or heart conditions.

Waste products in burn pits include, but are not limited to: chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metal/aluminum cans, munitions and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, plastics and Styrofoam, rubber, wood, and discarded food. Burning waste in pits can create more hazards compared to controlled high-temperature burning—like in a commercial incinerator.

The VA fact sheet on burn pits says veteran burn pit exposures to high levels of specific, individual chemicals that may be present in burn pit smoke have been shown to cause long-term effects, in some cases, on: skin, respiratory system, eyes, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, reproductive system, cardiovascular system, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract.

The IOM study  – supplied by this group – found these health effects associated with five or more chemicals it detected at Joint Base Balad in Iraq:

  • Neurologic effects and reduced central nervous system function
  • Liver toxicity and reduced liver function
  • Cancer (stomach, respiratory, and skin cancer; leukemia; and others)
  • Respiratory toxicity and morbidity
  • Kidney toxicity and reduced kidney function
  • Blood effects (anemia and changes in various cell types)
  • Cardiovascular toxicity and morbidity, and
  • Reproductive and developmental toxicity.

Here’s the roll call vote from yesterday. The one Democrat NO vote was cast by House Leader Chuck Schumer. The reason for that was so that he could recall the vote for a later day if something exactly like this happened.

About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.

Oh The Irony! The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act Is Broken – Full Texts of PACT 1 and PACT 2

Oh The Irony! The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act Is Broken – Full Texts of PACT 1 and PACT 2

Full Versions PACT Act 1 & 2

August 5, 2022 
Updated on August 5, 2022 at 8:12 AM EDT

“Burn Pit” Bill passed on an 86-11 vote on August 2, 2022.

Original Post:
Here is the original Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) version full text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3967/text

Revised Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) version full text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/3373/text

If you’ve never read a Congressional bill before, they are massively detailed documents. See the final version of the vote for yourself for what is officially called the Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act.

Republican Senators voted NO to help save the lives of our Veterans exposed to deadly toxins created by burn pit exposure. We have a post on why they did that here. This is a bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Senator Moran, the same Senator who co-authored the SSG Fox Veteran Suicide bill that passed in 2019.

When you compare the two document, the only change made relates to a tax status for the hundreds of private practice health care providers who would have cared for the Vets. Here’s the difference:

 “(e) NOT A TAXABLE BENEFIT.—A contract buy out for a covered health care professional under subsection (a) shall not be considered a taxable benefit or event for the covered health care professional.” 

That’s it! This was a tax exemption clarification that only affects the many private practice facilities that are required to render care to the huge number of Vets in need. Wait. Perhaps the tax breaks are what the Republicans’ flip-flopped on, but talking points in the days after centered around a $400 billion number. It was not pork. That is the price tag for the PACT. That money is hard-coded to pay for the program, period.

Of course, the human tragedy Veterans and their families face goes on in the meantime. As a nation, we need a discussion centered about Veterans. Once A Soldier is preparing to advocate for a Veterans Administration Czar who can rebuild that mess.

What Is a Burn Pit?

A burn pit is an area devoted to open-air combustion of trash. The use of burn pits was a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Smoke from these pits contained substances that may have short- and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for long periods or those more
prone to illness such as individuals with pre-existing asthma or other lung or heart conditions.

Waste products in burn pits include, but are not limited to: chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metal/aluminum cans, munitions and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, plastics and Styrofoam, rubber, wood, and discarded food. Burning waste in pits can create more hazards compared to controlled high-temperature burning—like in a commercial incinerator.

The VA fact sheet on burn pits says veteran burn pit exposures to high levels of specific, individual chemicals that may be present in burn pit smoke have been shown to cause long-term effects, in some cases, on: skin, respiratory system, eyes, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, reproductive system, cardiovascular system, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract.

The IOM study  – supplied by this group – found these health effects associated with five or more chemicals it detected at Joint Base Balad in Iraq:

  • Neurologic effects and reduced central nervous system function
  • Liver toxicity and reduced liver function
  • Cancer (stomach, respiratory, and skin cancer; leukemia; and others)
  • Respiratory toxicity and morbidity
  • Kidney toxicity and reduced kidney function
  • Blood effects (anemia and changes in various cell types)
  • Cardiovascular toxicity and morbidity, and
  • Reproductive and developmental toxicity.

Here’s the roll call vote from yesterday. The one Democrat NO vote was cast by House Leader Chuck Schumer. The reason for that was so that he could recall the vote for a later day if something exactly like this happened.

About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.