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Nearly two-thirds of United States veterans are unaware that they can receive free assistance with PACT Act benefits claims through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), according to a new AARP report. Passed in 2022, the new PACT Act law expands access to VA health care benefits for more than five million veterans and their survivors of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and Post-9/11 eras, exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

spinner image Army veteran and wife

The survey found criminals are taking advantage of veterans' lack of awareness by offering fraudulent benefits claims assistance with promises of lucrative benefits. One in 10 veterans say they were contacted by someone offering to assist them in enrolling in the new program by a caller who guaranteed a payoff, which is a telltale sign of a scam.

Veterans, servicemembers, and their families are specifically targeted by criminals because veterans have a steady income and benefits, frequent moves and deployments, and unique culture that criminals can exploit to gain unwarranted trust. To combat this issue, AARP provides tips on avoiding fraud and properly enrolling in VA health care benefits at


This survey of 887 veterans and active-duty military personnel ages 18-plus was conducted for AARP using NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel for the sample source. It was conducted to understand fraud schemes related to veteran benefits within the PACT Act.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Sauer at For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at