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Officials say they will honor PACT Act claims from veterans despite tech issues

Updated: August 10, 2023 at 10:03 AM MDT
This story has been updated to reflect the VA's announcement that the deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits has been extended to August 14.

The federal government said it will honor all veterans’ claims for new health care benefits if they meet an August 14 deadline to do so, even if they experienced technical difficulties.

It’s been a year since President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law, expanding health coverage for veterans’ exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances. Veterans who filed a claim by Wednesday are eligible to receive a year’s worth of retroactive benefits, although there’s no deadline for future claims.

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who sponsored the legislation, sent a letter to the federal officials Wednesday sounding the alarm that some veterans trying to submit claims online faced technical difficulties. He asked that those claims be honored and that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports how it will remedy the problem.

VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said that an extremely high volume of online claims led to some receiving an error message upon submission. He said the VA will honor all veterans’ claims who tried to file on time.

As of last Friday, more than 840,000 veterans made claims for benefits under the PACT Act. According to Sen. Tester’s office, more than 4,000 of them are Montanans.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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