WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement ahead of an upcoming deadline for veterans who deployed to combat zones and who are seeking to enroll in VA Health Care under the Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. Senator Fischer voted in favor of the PACT Act.

“Last year, I stood with our nation’s veterans and voted in favor of the PACT Act. It is critical that we continue to raise awareness about this important law and how veterans can access the benefits they have earned,”
 said Senator Fischer. 

Eligibility and Deadlines:

There is no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

However, veterans who deployed to a combat zone, never enrolled in VA health care, and left active duty between September 11, 2001, and October 1, 2013, are eligible to enroll directly in VA health care, as long as they enroll before 11:59 pm local time on September 30, 2023. This special enrollment period gives veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zones an opportunity to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. 

For more information on the PACT Act and about eligibility for the special enrollment period, please visit

Legislative Background:

Named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service, the PACT Act is comprehensive legislation to expand health care for post-9/11 combat veterans, create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure, expand VA’s list of service presumptions, and improve resources to support VA’s claims processing.

Since the PACT Act was signed into law on August 10, 2022, more than 361,000 veterans have enrolled in VA health care and more than 4.3 million enrolled veterans have been screened for toxic exposures.

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