VA Adds Three Cancers to Presumptive Service-Connected Disabilities List

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the inclusion of three new cancer types in its list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to military environmental exposure under the PACT Act. This decision reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing commitment to support Veterans through initiatives like the Unity Agenda and the Biden Cancer Moonshot.

The cancers now included are male breast cancer, urethral cancer, and cancer of the paraurethral glands. A sub-regulatory policy letter published in the Federal Register formalizes this addition.

This policy benefits Gulf War and post-9/11 Veterans who served in specific regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and several other countries in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. Presumptive service connection means that the VA automatically assumes these diseases are related to military service, streamlining access to benefits for eligible Veterans with diagnosed conditions.

“We are working with urgency to deliver on the promise of the PACT Act to provide health care and benefits to as many toxic-exposed Veterans as possible — we’re leaning in wherever we can,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “VA is working with one goal in mind: getting today and tomorrow’s Veterans and their families the benefits they deserve as fast as possible.”

Veterans who have or previously had one of the listed cancers during or after military service may be entitled to disability compensation benefits retroactive to August 10, 2022, when the PACT Act was signed into law. The VA will also review claims from impacted Veterans and survivors who were denied benefits for these cancers after the same date to determine eligibility.

Enrolled Veterans can receive cancer screenings and treatments at VA facilities, which have expanded cancer care services to be more accessible.

Enhancing Veteran Care: A Milestone in Supporting Those Who Served

Including these cancers as presumptive conditions is a significant step for Veterans facing health issues linked to their service. Military environmental exposures often have long-term health consequences, and timely recognition of these risks is crucial for affected Veterans.

This policy change reduces the burden on Veterans to prove that their cancers are connected to their service. By simplifying the claims process, the VA ensures that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve without unnecessary delays.

The broader implication is a strengthened trust in the VA’s commitment to caring for those who served. It signals a proactive approach to addressing health concerns related to military service, particularly those involving toxic exposures.

The VA’s action is part of a larger effort to fulfill the promises made under the PACT Act and other Veteran-focused initiatives. By expanding the list of presumptive conditions, the VA acknowledges the sacrifices made by service members and addresses the unique health challenges they face.

In summary, the addition of these three cancers to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities under the PACT Act marks a critical advancement in supporting Veterans. It highlights the importance of recognizing and responding to the long-term health effects of military service, ensuring that those who served receive the care and benefits they need. This proactive measure is a testament to the enduring commitment to Veteran welfare under the current administration.

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