VA Health Care Eligibility - PACT Act

VA opens health care eligibility for Vietnam, Gulf War, post-9/11 Veterans under PACT Act


I am reaching out to provide an update concerning VA’s implementation of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act).

For those unaware, on August 10, President Biden signed the PACT Act into law, authorizing one of the largest health care and benefits expansions in VA history. 

Next month will mark VHA’s first step in that expansion. Effective October 1, VA is expanding and extending eligibility for VA health care for certain Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras under the PACT Act.

As Secretary McDonough says, “This expansion will bring generations of new Veterans into VA health care, and increase the health care benefits of many more, which will result in the one outcome that matters most: better health outcomes for Veterans,”, “I highly encourage these Veterans to apply now for the health care they’ve earned and deserve.”

Here is important information for all VHA employees to know and share with Veterans.

Vietnam era Veterans who served in the following locations and time periods are eligible to apply for enrollment now:

  • Service in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Service in Thailand at any U.S. or Royal Thai base between Jan. 9, 1962, and June 30, 1976
  • Service in Laos between Dec. 1, 1965, and Sept. 30, 1969
  • Service in certain provinces in Cambodia between April 16, 1969, and April 30, 1969
  • Service in Guam or American Samoa (or their territorial waters) between Jan. 9, 1962, and July 30, 1980
  • Service in Johnston Atoll (or a ship that called there) between Jan. 1, 1972, and Sept. 30, 1977

Beginning October 1, Gulf War Veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after the Persian Gulf War may be eligible to enroll in VA health care. This includes Veterans who, in connection with service during such period, received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Service Specific Expeditionary Medal, Combat Era Specific Expeditionary Medal, Campaign Specific Medal, or any other combat theater award established by Federal statute or Executive order.

Beginning October 1, Post-9/11 Veterans who did not previously enroll in VA health care will have a one-year window in which they may be eligible to enroll if they:

  • Served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War, or
  • Served in a combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after Nov. 11, 1998, and
  • Were discharged or released between Sept. 11, 2001, and Oct. 1, 2013

You can visit to get the latest information and updates.   

Thank you for your work in continually improving Veterans’ health care.

Shereef Elnahal, M.D., M.B.A.

Under Secretary for Health