Military Base Toxic Exposure Veterans Disability Benefits

If veterans get exposed to toxic substances or burn pits from the air, water, or soil while on service, causing health issues, they are eligible for disability benefits. Once you get the approval for VA disability compensations, you may also get other benefits, including VA health care.

Thanks to the signing of the Pact Act in August 2022, veterans and their survivors can get better healthcare services from VA. If you or your close ones are veterans with disability or illnesses caused by hazardous substances on duty, you should learn more about the Pact Act.


Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discussion with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.

Short Understanding of the Pact Act and Its Benefits

The biggest benefit a veteran with toxic substance or burn pit-related disabilities get is the Pact Act services. This act helps by giving the patients attentive and personalized health care. It is unlike any regular health care where the service is more general and unfocused.

Simply put, the Pact Act is a team-based health service that is personalized and concentrated on the veteran. The veteran always stays at the center of the process, allowing for more accurate and effective treatment.

Remember that the Pact Act is only for certain veterans. Others usually only get the disability payment benefit.

What Makes You Eligible for VA Disability Compensation and Pact Act?

In order to be eligible for both VA disability compensation and the Pact Act, a veteran need to meet all the following criteria-

  • They must have served in an area that exposed them to toxicity or hazards.
  • They must have a health issue connected to or caused by burn pits or a specific toxic exposure from the air, water, or soil.
  • They must not have had a dishonorable discharge.

It is usually your duty to prove that your disability or illness is service-connected. However, the VA can presume this in many cases and give you a disability rating themselves. In that case, no evidence is necessary. But what toxic substance or burn pit-related conditions are presumptive? Follow the next section.

Presumptive Illnesses and Cancers

The following are some health conditions and cancers the VA presumes to be service-related and caused by hazards.

Chronic bronchitisBrain cancer
EmphysemaKidney cancer
Interstitial lung disease (ILD)Any form of head cancer
Chronic rhinitisAny form of reproductive cancer
Asthma (diagnosed after service)Any form of gastrointestinal cancer

Go to the official VA site to get the full list. Note that these are not the only conditions that may make you eligible for Pact Act services. These are just the presumptive ones, which you don’t need to prove to be service related. However, there is another way VA may assume your conditions are service related.

Specific Date and Location for Presumption of Exposure

If you have served in certain locations on certain dates, VA may regard your disabilities and illnesses as service related. These are some of the locations and times-

  • Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Djibouti, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Jordan, and the sky above any of these locations on September 11, 2001.
  • Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Somalia, and the sky above any of these places on August 2, 1990.
  • Specific presumptive benefits for veterans active at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Even if you were not active on the specific dates but were at that location before or after and developed any presumptive illness, VA may still entitle you to disability benefits. In the end, the decision falls to VA. Refrain from being ambivalent or forgo your option of filing a claim, especially if you have evidence. If unsure about your conditions, get an eligibility review from VA Disability Coach.

Brief Introduction to Superfund Sites

There are certain sites that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regard as a superfund site. These sites are contaminated by hazardous substances or radiation. The main process of the superfund program is to clean up these areas. The following factors affect EPA’s decision on whether a site is a superfund or not-

  • The type of toxic element present in the site (usually radiation, lead, PCBs, dioxin, and asbestos)
  • The contaminated part of the site (air, water, soil, or sediments)
  • The severity of the hazard
  • The cleanup phase at the moment

So, why do you need to know these, you may wonder? If you have been stationed in a superfund site at any point after its contamination started, VA will likely deem your illnesses as presumptive. So, we advise looking up whether your stationed site is a superfund and mentioning it in your claim.

Superfund sites are also present outside the USA. It is so because the EPA is an international agency.

The Supplemental Claim

If your claim for VA disability benefits was denied by VA for the lack of proof before the rules of presumptive conditions (like the Pact Act) were established, you still have a chance. Simply file a supplemental claim. If it is a presumptive condition, VA should approve it now.

If your conditions are not presumptive, but you have proof of them being service related that you haven’t submitted on your initial claim, you may do it on your supplemental claim.

Final Note

Whether you are a veteran with a disability or illness, their caregiver, or close ones, you can submit a claim for your respective and applicable benefits. There are many illnesses and cancers that may stem from exposure to hazardous substances. Once VA approves your claims, the Pact Act program can ensure a successful and centralized medical treatment for you. So, be sure to take the first step and file your claim.