The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 3, 2022.
Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021 or the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021
This bill addresses health care, presumption of service-connection, research, resources, and other matters related to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The bill provides eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care, including mental health services and counseling, to veterans who (1) participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (a qualifying activity that requires a corresponding entry in an exposure tracking record system), (2) served in specified locations on specified dates, or (3) deployed in support of a specified contingency operation.
The bill establishes the Formal Advisory Committee on Toxic Exposure to assist with the various procedures in establishing or removing presumptions of service-connection.
The bill modifies or establishes the presumption of service-connection for certain conditions or purposes for various groups of veterans.
Among other requirements, the VA must
provide a veteran with a medical examination regarding the nexus between a disability and toxic exposure risk activity if a veteran submits a disability compensation claim for a service-connected disability with insufficient evidence, incorporate a clinical questionnaire to help determine potential toxic exposures as part of the initial screening conducted for veterans with a VA primary care provider, and establish a registry for current or past members of the Armed Forces who may have been exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances due to the environmental release of aqueous film-forming foam at a Department of Defense location.