Pact Act Guidance with MOU Between VFW and B&M; VBA News

Comrades:

Per the attached guidance, VA must still process claims with PACT Act related conditions if the claim can be granted under current authority/regulations (Direct Service Connection, Secondary Service Connection, Aggravation, etc.).

If the claim cannot be granted under current regulations, but is a newly established presumptive condition, VBA has been instructed to begin developing the claim by retrieving and uploading Service Treatment Records (STRs), Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), and current treatment records.  Once pertinent records have been uploaded and both qualifying service and a diagnosis of a new presumptive condition have been confirmed, VSRs are instructed to order Compensation and Pension (C&P) exams to evaluate the severity of the condition.  VSRs have specifically been instructed NOT to request medical nexus opinions for newly presumptive conditions.  Once development has been completed RVSRs have been instructed to hold the claim until VBA begins processing PACT Act decisions in January 2023.

If a claim cannot be granted under current regulations and the conditions claimed are based on toxic exposure, but not one of the new presumptive conditions, VSRs must still begin to develop the claim by retrieving STRs, OMPF, and current treatment records, but they are not to order C&P exams.  The claim will then be held pending future guidance.

As a reminder, VFW has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the law firm Bergmann & Moore (B&M), LLC.  If you are contacted by a claimant that meets the eligibility to pursue a lawsuit related to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), please recommend the claimant contact B&M through their website’s landing page.  B&M is working with a national mass tort law firm and will review each proposed settlement to see if the Veteran is maximizing both VA and CLJA benefits.

VBA news:

  • We set records in claims production, rating 5% more claims than ever before (1.7M). This reduced the backlog by over 100,000 claims, with average time pending dropping to just over 20 days. All of this was done while achieving our highest quality ever nationwide.
  • Hired almost 7,000 new employees, which is four times our previous best.
  • Completed 72,000 field exams, deciding over 510,000 claims for Veterans and survivors. 

John Johnson, Command Sergeant Major, USA (Retired)
VFW Department Service Officer Columbia, South Carolina
Office: (803) 647-2442 / 2443, Fax: (803) 647-2313 6437, Email: John.Johnson34@va.gov
Garners Ferry Rd, Suite 1124 Columbia, SC 29209

Bergmann & Moore (B&M), LLC