How the PACT Act supports Utah veterans since approval

Nov 10, 2023, 10:00 PM

Terry Schow, retired executive director at Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, listens as Presiden...

Terry Schow, retired executive director at Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, listens as President Joe Biden speaks on the one-year anniversary of passage of the PACT Act, the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic exposed veterans and survivors in over 30 years, at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Saturday is the second Veterans Day since a law expanding veteran health care passed. Since being signed into law, the PACT Act has been able to get thousands of people in Utah covered.

The act was signed into law a little over a year ago. It removes the burden of proof for veterans, instead covering “presumptive conditions.” That means depending on a veteran’s condition and when they served, they automatically get care and don’t have to go through a long process to prove a condition stems from their military service.

Terry Schow is the former Executive Director at the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs. He told KSL NewsRadio that over 7,000 people in Utah have signed up for coverage under the act.

“The VA tells me that probably in the neighborhood of about 75% of those who have filed their claims have already been processed and approved,” Schow said.

The PACT Act hugely expanded coverage for veterans. Schow said coverage goes back to Vietnam veterans with presumptive exposure to Agent Orange. It also includes presumptive care for those who were exposed to burn pits. 

“You got folks that have been around burn pits even going back to Vietnam, because the military has for a long, long time, disposed of their medical waste and other waste by burning them,” Schow said. “And these pits and breathing those fumes, has caused health problems for many of these veterans.”

Veterans can still file a claim through the PACT Act to get coverage. However, the claim will be backdated to the day you file.

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How the PACT Act supports Utah veterans since approval