GovCIO: VBA Preps for Claims Influx from PACT Act

The recently passed Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act came with much praise in the veteran and federal community for its expansion of medical coverage to former military service members exposed to toxins during their service. But now the work begins in executing these payments amid the Department of Veterans Affairs’ existing claims backlog.

The legislation is the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxin-exposed veterans in more than 30 years. With the expansion, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) expects to see a large influx of claims from an anticipated 3.5 million eligible veterans…

Part of this work included development a new model to drive decision-making for new presumptive, service-connected disabilities. Jacobs noted that this has been a challenge over many years, but the agency is trying to lower the threshold by which VA has to establish evidence necessary to make that connection.

A new VA-developed model for this process is currently being evaluated at the Office of Science, Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) within the White House.  The PACT Act requires that this new approached be reviewed and validated by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Once Biden signs the bill, which is expected Wednesday, VA will have to work with the organization to evaluate whether the model is sufficient… Read the full article here.

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