(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Veterans have until Wednesday, Aug. 9 to submit a claim or an intent to file to be eligible for benefits backdated to Aug. 10, 2022, under the PACT Act. On Monday, Aug. 7, El Paso County offered a clinic to help those impacted get the benefits they deserve.

The PACT Act was passed last August in Congress, benefitting veterans exposed to burn pits, agent orange, and other toxic substances. The Act promises to provide affected veterans, their families, and caregivers with healthcare and other benefits.

Veterans Affairs (VA) said the Act does not have a deadline to receive benefits but if a PACT Act claim or intent to file is submitted by Aug. 9, claimants are eligible for backdated benefits to Aug. 10, 2022.

The VA said starting a disability application or supplemental claim online notifies them automatically of an intent to file, qualifying those filing for backdated benefits. El Paso County is home to nearly 95,000 veterans with around 24,000 eligible for the new benefits.

“The importance of these events can not be overstated, the impacts of PACT Act benefits have the potential to resonate with families for generations,” said Eric Winterrowd, Representative for the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs. “Through July, the VA has received 15,319 PACT Act claims from the state of Colorado, out of a population of 374,000. Not all veterans are eligible but we have work to do.”

Veterans can learn more at VA.gov, or call 1-(800)-698-2411 for assistance.

There are two more PACT Act Claims Clinics coming up in El Paso County:

  • Dates: Aug. 8 & Aug. 9, 2023
  • Hours: Each clinic will be open from Noon to 8:00 p.m. daily
  • Location: U.S. National Guard Recruiting & Readiness Center
  • Address: 9510 Voyager Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
  • Walk-ins are encouraged. No prior registration is necessary.

“…Individuals will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Accredited veteran service officers and representatives from the VA and VBA will be on site to file claims, conduct toxic exposure screening, and health care enrollment,” according to the website.

For more information on the clinics, contact the El Paso County Veteran Service Office at (719) 520-7750 or email vet@elpasoco.com.