VA expands veterans' eligibility for health care starting March

VA Montana.jpg
Posted at 7:16 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 21:16:55-05

HELENA — The VA says they’re allowing any veterans who were exposed to toxins or other hazards in the military to enroll in VA health care starting next month – years earlier than initially scheduled under the 2022 PACT Act.

Department leaders say, as of March 5, all veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War or in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other combat zones after 9/11 will be able to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. Those who didn’t deploy but were exposed to hazards while training or on active duty in the U.S. will also be eligible.

“If you’re a Veteran who may have been exposed to toxins or hazards while serving our country, at home or abroad, we want you to come to us for the health care you deserve,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a statement. “VA is proven to be the best, most affordable health care in America for Veterans – and once you’re in, you have access for life. So don’t wait, enroll starting March 5th.”

The PACT Act expanded health care benefits for veterans who experienced toxic exposures like burn pits. It initially called for phasing in veterans’ eligibility over time. VA leaders say the change means millions more will be able to enroll at once – some up to eight years ahead of schedule.

You can go to or call 1 (800) MYVA411 to get more information on available benefits and how to apply.

The VA says more than 500,000 veterans have enrolled in health care since the PACT Act became law.