For decades there has been medical complications statistically abnormal for those who were based in Camp Lejeune. Recently there has been considerable media and Congressional attention to the past contamination of the water supply at Camp Lejeune. From 1953 to 1987, the water supply was contaminated with TCE, PCE, benzene, vinyl chloride and “other compounds.” see https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/Site/background_information.html. Because of legislation passed in 2012, the VA now recognizes the medical problems caused by the Camp LeJeune water contamination. There are two areas that a Veteran may be awarded benefits listed below:
(1) VA health care benefits may be available. These are available for veterans and family members, who served on active duty or lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, from January 1, 1957 to December 31, 1987. The law noted 15 conditions which may be related to exposure to the contaminated water supply: esophageal cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, renal toxicity, female infertility, miscarriage, sclerodoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, hepatic steatosis, and neurobehavioral effects. If you or your family members lived at Camp Lejeune for 30 days during that period and currently suffers from any of these conditions, you may be eligible for health care benefits from VA. see (VA Facts Sheet) http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/index.asp
(2) For veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune, disability/compensation benefits may be available if you meet the following criteria:
1. Discharged under other than dishonorable conditions;
2. Served at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987; and
3. Provide medical evidence that you have a current condition and a medical opinion that the condition is related to your exposure to the contaminated water.
For more information from VA, see http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-camp_leguene_water.asp
VA is not specific as to what “current conditions,” it will consider. However, it is likely that any of the 15 conditions mentioned for health care benefits are candidates. Unfortunately, presumption for the conditions is not applicable. VA takes the position that there is not sufficient evidence of a connection between any of these conditions and the exposure to the contaminants in the water supply to justify a presumption that they are related. Because of this, it will be important for you to obtain a medical opinion or nexus statement that states that your condition is related to the water contamination and fully explains the basis for the opinion. Even if you submit your own medical opinion, VA is very likely to obtain an opinion from a VA physician, known as a C & P exam, regarding the connection between your condition and the water contamination. Because of this, it is especially important that the opinion you submit be clear and well supported.
It has been a long wait for the aforesaid and those veterans who died or are severely injured while waiting for the justice delayed, with respect to their dependents, may want to file a claim and reopen those claims wrongfully denied. A multitude of arguments regarding claims under the purview of the Camp Lejeune water contamination are yet to be decided and the exact outcomes are unknown. At least there is acknowledgement and the system for acceptance of the Camp Lejeune tainted water claims via the VA which is a starting point.
For more information please call us:
Veterans Disability Lawyer
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 and filed under Veterans Benefits.