The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is warning veterans to be vigilant about scams arising following the passage of the historic Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.
They issued a news release on January 10 about this risk. This is what it says:
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), since the law’s passage, there has been an increase in PACT Act-related phishing, vishing and social media scams targeting veterans to access their PACT Act benefits or submit claims on their behalf for a fee. The VFW has launched PACT Act Info, a consumer information initiative to provide veterans with guidance on eligibility, protection from scams and direct referrals to free, expert assistance in filing VA claims.
“We want veterans to know there is no need to pay for consultations or any kind of assistance to pursue PACT Act benefits” said Ryan Gallucci, director of VFW National Veterans Service. “Through the new law, more health conditions than ever before have been deemed presumptive to military service, so the burden of proof is minimal.”
The VFW National Veterans Service trains and oversees a global network of more than 2,000 veterans service officers who are accredited by VA to file benefit claims on behalf of any veteran, regardless of VFW membership. VFW Accredited Service Officers walk the veteran through the entire process, from determining eligibility and the initial filing, to the decision and any additional appeal actions all free of charge, as required by law.
“Firms that charge fees for providing a service or consultation and promise faster, more accurate results are generally misleading the veteran,” Gallucci emphasized. “There is no magic bullet or way to make the process go any faster or influence the outcome.”
The PACT Act was signed into law on August 10, 2022, and expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances and is arguably the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history.
“The VFW was instrumental in passage of the PACT Act to secure the life-changing legislation for veterans, but our mission does not end there,” said Borland. “Now comes the hard work of ensuring every veteran receives the care and benefits they have earned, without paying unnecessary fees. To that end, VFW’s PACT Act Info initiative serves to educate and safeguard veterans and connect them with free, VFW Accredited Service Officers.”
Veterans are encouraged to go to www.pactactinfo.org where they can:
- Check on potential eligibility for PACT Act benefits.
- Connected with a VFW-Accredited Services Officer who can help them free of charge.
- Learn more about the PACT Act with a comprehensive FAQ section.
- Join the VFW’s mission to support veterans, service members and their families.
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If you've been subjected to a scam attempt like this, please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.