People who served at one of the Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina prior to 1987 might be eligible for certain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River were being serviced by two wells that contained contaminated water.
Servicemen and women who worked or lived on these bases, as well as their family members living on base were unknowingly drinking water that contained chemicals that can cause major health issues. The Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 addresses the conditions that can lead to costly medical care.
As part of the act, people who served at either of those two bases for at least 30 days from August 1953 through December 1987 are eligible for health care through the VA and reimbursement of related medical care expenses. Only people who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge are eligible.
In order to qualify for disability benefits through the VA, the person must be a veteran, reservist, or guardsman who has one of the presumptive conditions. At first, there were only eight conditions, but more were added as they were tied to one of the contaminants in the water.
The first eight that were recognized included:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Adult leukemia
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Aplastic anemia or myelodysplastic syndromes
- Liver cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
Other conditions that were added later include:
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Lung cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
The two contaminated wells, which were both closed in 1985, were found to have these chemicals in them:
- Vinyl chloride
- Other contaminants
Anyone who was on one of these bases for at least 30 cumulative days during the covered period should ensure they get their claim with the VA filed. They may be able to receive disability payments if they were the servicemember. Family members and servicemembers can also get free health care from the VA for one of the 15 presumptive conditions. They can also receive health care from the VA for other conditions, but standard co-pays will apply.
There are specific pieces of documentation that are required for these claims. In some cases, the VA can use internal sources to determine some of these points. It might take longer if that has to happen. Anyone who needs to apply for reimbursement of medical care already received will have to provide proof they paid for that care.
You also have to prove that you meet the 30-day requirement. This can be done by providing service orders or housing documentation from the period. Family members have to show proof of dependent status to a qualified service member. This is usually a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
Law firms across the country are helping qualified individuals to get the benefits they deserve due to their exposure to contaminated water at one of these Marine Corps camps. The team at Dolman Law can assist individuals with these claims. Working with someone who’s familiar with the requirements and who can help you navigate through the red tape can take away some stress and make the process a bit less complex.