The Next Deadline for Backdated PACT Act Payments Is Coming Soon. Here’s What You Need to Know

In a forest, a yellow haze surrounds silhouetted medical badge candidates.
U.S. Army Europe Expert Field Medical Badge candidates listen to a brief in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Candidates must perform multiple tasks with protective gear to prevent simulated toxic exposure. (Capt. Jeku Arce/U.S. Army)

The clock is counting down to the final deadline for certain U.S. military veterans, or their surviving family members, to receive maximum benefits for a toxic exposure-related medical condition under the PACT Act.

Those vets or family members who hadn’t yet filed a PACT Act claim but instead declared their “intent to file” ahead of a summer 2023 deadline locked in the earliest possible effective date for their benefits. But as soon as they filed the form declaring their intent, they had only 365 days to complete their claim -- and for those who did so last summer, that’s the looming deadline.

In fiscal year 2023, the first full fiscal year after the law’s signing, veterans turned in almost 2.3 million “intents-to-file,” according to the VA, a 62% increase over fiscal year 2022 and a new record.

Signed into law in August 2022, the PACT Act gave millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances while in uniform, or their survivors, the potential to receive disability compensation, health care, or dependency and indemnity compensation, with qualifying service going back to the 1960s.

The act classified certain medical conditions frequently resulting from toxic exposures as presumptive, assuming a connection with a veteran’s military service if the veteran served in a certain place at a certain time. Classifying conditions as presumptive lowered the burden of proof that a toxic exposure in the military definitively caused a disease, making it easier for veterans to receive disability compensation or VA health care if appropriate.

Who Can Still Receive the Maximum Backdated PACT Act Benefits?

Veterans or survivors who formally declared their intent to file a PACT Act claim by Aug. 14, 2023, may still qualify to receive the maximum backdated benefits, also referred to as retroactive benefits.

To receive compensation backdated to the law’s signing on Aug. 10, 2022 -- the earliest start date for a new claim -- veterans and survivors had the option to formally notify the VA of their intent to file. Once they turned in the paperwork declaring their intent to file, they had 365 days to get their actual claim together.

Those who declared their intent last summer still have a chance to complete their claim and receive full backdated benefits.

“You can still finish your claim anytime, and we encourage you to do so,” according to the VA. “The only thing that may change is the effective date of your benefits.”

Qualifying veterans receive disability compensation, while qualifying survivors receive dependency and indemnity compensation. Those who filed a claim in the past for a newly presumptive condition should file a supplemental claim instead of a new claim. Depending on the circumstances, people who filed in the past could get their benefits backdated further.

If the VA denied a claim in the past for a condition that's now considered presumptive, the beneficiary should file a supplemental claim instead of a new claim.

Review your intent-to-file and any records submitted in support of a claim by logging in to with an existing,, DS Logon or My HealtheVet account.

If I Haven’t Filed Any PACT Act Paperwork, Can I Still Receive Backdated Benefits?

For PACT Act claims filed after Aug. 14, 2023, beneficiaries may still be eligible to receive a year of backdated benefits, but the year would count backward from the date they file their claim or intent-to-file and not go all the way back to the law’s signing, the Department of Veterans Affairs told

"VA will review their record to determine the earliest benefit start date possible," a spokesperson said.

There is no final deadline to file a PACT Act claim. The Aug. 14, 2023, deadline to file or declare intent only applied to receiving the earliest effective date for benefits.

How Can I Get Free Help Completing a PACT Act Claim?

Veterans and survivors who feel uncertain about filing a PACT Act claim may enlist the help of the VA’s accredited representatives, including veterans service organizations (VSOs), or that of veterans offices run by state and local governments.

VSOs help veterans file benefit claims for free with no obligation to join. Veterans offices that are part of local or state governments can also help with local and state benefits.

Find out more about what to expect when filing a PACT Act claim.

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