The PACT Act and your VA benefits

VA Secretary’s Statement on the Signing of the PACT Act
“The PACT Act is a historic new law that will help VA deliver for millions of Veterans — and their survivors — by empowering us to presumptively provide care and benefits to Vets suffering from more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions. It will also bring generations of Veterans into VA health care, which will improve Veteran health outcomes across the board.

We at VA are ready to implement the PACT Act and deliver for toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. If you think you might be eligible for PACT Act benefits, here’s what you need to know:

You can apply for PACT Act-related benefits now by filing a claim at VA.
As President Biden announced at the bill signing, we are making all 23 presumptive conditions in the PACT Act eligible for benefits effective today, August 10.
You can learn more about the PACT Act by visiting VA.gov/PACT or calling 1-800-MyVA411.
Thank you to all of the Veterans, survivors and family members who fought tirelessly to make this day possible, and thank you to President Biden for keeping our nation’s promise to those who served. We at VA will stop at nothing to make sure that every Veteran and every survivor gets the PACT Act-related care and benefits they deserve.” – VA Secretary Denis R. McDonough

https://www.va.gov/resources/the-pact-act-and-your-va-benefits/?utm_source=Feature&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=VetResources&utm_id=10AUG2022

NCA launches new interactive “Find a Cemetery” map

In time for this year’s Memorial Day, NCA has launched a new interactive “Find a Cemetery” map. The feature enables Veterans to search for their final resting place or for those who want to visit their Veteran interred at any of the 155 VA managed or 119 VA-funded cemeteries.

A brand-new feature of the clickable map will allow users to enter a zip code and find the closest cemetery. As shown below, the result from a zip code search will display a pop-up modal window where users can click over to the cemetery web page, call the cemetery (from a mobile phone), look up directions, find burial schedule information or leave tributes, photos and more at the Veterans Legacy Memorial.

Find a cemetery

Find a cemetery feature on the website.

Users can also simply click on a state or territory to display the cemeteries there with blue or green pins representing VA managed or VA funded cemeteries. Clicking on a pin will bring up the same pop-up modal as the zip code search.

Below the large clickable map, users can still find a text list of states and territories. This layout on the page allows users to see the full list of cemeteries available at that those locations, and is easy to read on desktop or mobile devices

Although some locations are now closed for additional interments, burial benefits in one of these cemeteries is available to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active-duty service requirements and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.

VA provides the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite at no cost to the family. For more information about burial and memorial benefits, go to https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/.

Agricultural resources available to Veterans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced an award of $5 million to community farming programs for Veterans. NIFA’s Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets) program specifically targets Veterans interested in pursuing careers across the food and agricultural sector. The aim is to equip Veterans with the necessary skills, training and experience that lead to meaningful employment opportunities to strengthen personal finances and rural economies.

The most recent announcement highlights eight AgVets projects. Each project offers onsite, hands-on training and classroom education leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farm and ranch operations, and management practices. Projects may also offer workforce readiness and employment prospects for service-disabled Veterans.

Awardees

Rural South Institute, Madison, Alabama

Rural South Institute seeks to empower military Veterans and facilitate their equitable access to government programs and resources to successfully transition into civilian life. This project targets Veterans in Alabama, paying special attention to those currently serving in the Reserve and National Guard, and who are interested in farming and entrepreneurship.

Center for Land-Based Learning, Woodland, California

The long-term goal of this project is to provide comprehensive classroom and hands-on agricultural education to Veterans, and to connect them with support services that will increase their retention in agricultural careers. The target audience includes service-disabled Veterans, women Veterans, and socially disadvantaged Veterans in the state of California.

Farmer Veteran Coalition, Davis, California

“Veterans Farming Through Adversity” connects Veterans to an educational and training program  in their chosen agricultural field through partnerships with four certified agricultural apprenticeship programs: (a) Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA); (b) Archi’s Acres Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; (c) Rodale Institute Veteran Farmer Training Program; and (d) Texas AgrAbility Battleground to Breaking Ground. The four apprenticeship opportunities span 18 states and a variety of focus areas and commodities.

Denver Botanic Gardens, Inc., Denver, Colorado

Denver Botanic Gardens’ Veterans Farm Program creates opportunity out of crisis by preparing all Veterans for the agricultural workforce gap created by growers who are either retiring or leaving the industry.

Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) Corp., Manhattan, Kansas

SAVE provides hands on training and transition assistance for Veterans desiring a career in farming or the agriculture industry.

Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems, East Lansing, Michigan

The Heroes to Hives (H2H) program is the nation’s largest beekeeping education program with nearly 1,000 alumni operating over 4,000 beehives across the United States. H2H uses a 9-month hybrid education program that takes students through a year of beekeeping training using a self-paced online certificate program that is coupled with hands-on educational experiences at seven locations in Michigan.

Whitaker Small Farm Group Inc., Garner, North Carolina

The main goal of this project is to empower Veteran farmers primarily in eastern North Carolina with the resources, knowledge and expertise needed to make well informed decisions to manage their farms in a sustainable and profitable manner.

American Farmland Trust, Washington, D.C.

Veteran Women for the Land aims to foster a community of practice among Veteran women farmers in the Pacific Northwest through a series of listening sessions, Learning Circles and convenings.

Check out more of USDA’s resources available to Veterans.

VA Secretary’s Statement on the Passage of the PACT Act

VA Secretary’s Statement on the Passage of the PACT Act
“Veterans who were exposed to toxic fumes while fighting for our country are American heroes, and they deserve world-class care and benefits for their selfless service. The bipartisan PACT Act will help VA deliver for those Veterans—and their survivors—by empowering us to presumptively provide care and benefits to Vets suffering from more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions.

To those Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors: you can apply for PACT Act benefits by filing a claim at VA.gov, and you can learn more about the PACT Act at VA.gov/PACT or by calling us at 1-800-MyVA411. VA will be communicating with you every step of the way to make sure that you and your loved ones get the benefits you’ve earned.

I couldn’t be more grateful to President Biden, who made this day possible by fighting like hell for our nation’s Veterans. Once the President signs this bill into law, VA will implement it quickly and effectively, delivering the care these Veterans need and the benefits they deserve.” – VA Secretary Denis R. McDonough