Veterans are owed society’s deepest thanks for their service and sacrifice. The recently passed PACT Act is providing long-overdue coverage and benefits for military service members who were harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals in burn pits during their service. Now service members can file a claim to receive healthcare benefits.

However, we recognize that dealing with bureaucracy can be a long, complex, and challenging process. Although the PACT Act is a step in the right direction, the process can still take precious time that veterans should be able to spend receiving the services they are entitled to and spending time with loved ones without huge financial burdens from medical expenses. That is where we come in. Our team at GoldenbergLaw knows that medical coverage is absolutely essential, and we have the experience of helping clients get the benefits they are entitled to. For more than 35 years, the GoldenbergLaw team has helped clients get justice. Service members, we can help you get the benefits and services you are entitled to from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The PACT Act

In August 2022, the PACT Act passed both houses of Congress. It is the largest expansion of coverage and benefits in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It provides healthcare and benefits for millions of veterans who were injured during their military service by Agent Orange, burn pits, and other toxic chemicals.

The PACT Act added more presumptive conditions for veterans who were exposed to burn pits, which were commonly used to dispose of waste on military bases. This makes the process easier for veterans to get the benefits they are entitled to. A presumptive condition improves the process for veterans because it presumes that if you meet the applicable military service requirement, your injury was caused by your military service. You are not responsible for proving that your military service caused your condition. A veteran just needs to show that they have one of the presumptive conditions and that they meet the service requirements.

Presumptive Conditions from Exposure to Burn Pits

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced the following cancers and other illnesses are presumptive conditions from burn pit exposure:


  • Squamous cell carcinoma of larynx
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea
  • Adenocarcinoma of trachea
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Larynx

Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx is a type of laryngeal cancer. It impacts breathing, swallowing, and talking. The cancer usually starts in the cells lining the larynx.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Trachea

Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea is the most common type of tracheal cancer. The fast-growing cancer usually starts in the lower portion of the trachea and moves to the mucosal lining of the airway which can cause ulceration and bleeding in the trachea.

Adenocarcinoma of the Trachea

Adenocarcinoma of the trachea is less likely to penetrate the mucosal lining of the trachea compared to squamous cell carcinoma. However, the cancer is characterized by slow-growing tumors that eventually close off the airway.

Salivary Gland-Type Tumors of the Trachea

This cancer is characterized by two types of salivary tracheal tumors: tracheal mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) and adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). MEC is a rare airway tumor and ACCs are slow-growing tumors that are usually discovered in the early stages which usually makes them treatable.

Adenosquamous Carcinoma of the Lung

Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung is a rare type of non-smell cell carcinoma of the lung. This type of cancer forms in the glands that line the lungs.

Large Cell Carcinoma of the Lung

Large cell carcinoma of the lung is a type of non-small cell lung cancer that usually grows more quickly and aggressively compared to other types of cancers. The term is used as a “catch-all” diagnosis for large cell lung cancers that can’t be specified as falling within another subgroup. It usually forms on the outer edges of the lungs.

Salivary Gland-Type Tumors of the Lung

Salivary gland tumors are abnormal cells that grow in the salivary gland or in the tubes (ducts) that drain the glands. Surgery is the main form of treatment for cancerous salivary gland tumors.

Sarcomatoid Carcinoma of the Lung

Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung is a subtype of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (lung cancer) that is very rare.

Typical and Atypical Carcinoids of the Lung

Lung carcinoids are a type of tumor. Typical carcinoids usually grow slowly and rarely spread beyond the lungs. However, atypical carcinoids grow a little faster and may spread beyond the lungs.

Other Illnesses:

  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis


Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, in addition to nighttime or morning coughing.


Rhinitis is a reaction that causes nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching. It is caused by inflammation and is characterized by irritation in the eyes, ears, or throat.


Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses inside the head and nose become swollen and inflamed. It interferes with the way mucus normally drains, and it makes the nose stuffy.

Military Service Requirements

The PACT Act also included military service requirements for when veterans can qualify for coverage and benefits. If military members served on or after September 11, 2001, in any of the following locations, they are considered presumably exposed to burn pits or other toxic chemicals:

  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen
  • The airspace above any of these locations

The Department of Veterans Affairs also announced that a condition will be presumed to have been caused by exposure to burn pits if a veteran’s military service occurred on or after August 2, 1990, in the following locations:

  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • The airspace above any of these locations

To be eligible for benefits, a veteran must have developed one of the presumptive conditions within 10 years after the completion of military service.

How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with one of the presumptive conditions the Department of Veterans Affairs outlined for burn pits during military service, contact the PACT Act litigation team at GoldenbergLaw. Our team has more than 35 years of experience providing the Gold standard of advocacy to our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.