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Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Eligibility

Between August 1953 and December 1987, people working and residing at the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina are said to have been exposed to contaminated water coming from neighboring water wells that had been contaminated with industrial chemicals from a local dry cleaner. Nearly one million Marines, sailors, non-service workers, and their families living in the camp unsuspectingly drank, bathed with, and cooked with the contaminated water, exposing themselves to dangerous toxins.

Many of these victims have since died from complications caused by these toxins, while others are suffering from chronic diseases related to exposure. Unfortunately, current laws have made it difficult for many of these victims to file lawsuits against the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)–some of these victims don’t even know how to file a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination.

If you served or lived in this camp during the specified period and you would like to file a claim, you need to start by understanding whether you’re eligible to file a claim or not. This article discusses the topic of Camp Lejeune water contamination eligibility to help you decide whether to move on with the claim or to seek other forms of legal redress.

Who Is Eligible to File a Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

Currently, the U.S Senate is debating a new law titled “The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022,” which is expected to make the process of filing claims for the victims of this tragedy easy and swift. Under the current law, veterans who were exposed to this contamination can’t file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit against the VA if they’ve already gone to the VA for benefits. Furthermore, the current law doesn’t compel the VA to compensate the family members of the affected veterans and non-service workers.

The current presumptive service connection established by the VA only covers veterans, reservists, and members of the National Guard affected by the contamination. It’s important to note that the presumptive connection only covers a few presumptive conditions, including:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

So, any other condition that you may have developed after consuming contaminated water at the camp may not qualify for disability compensation. VA claims that only the above-mentioned conditions have been scientifically and medically proven to be related to the exposure, but the department insists that it will continue to review any additional evidence that may be available. Therefore, if you’re suffering from certain complications such as Camp Lejeune water contamination lung diseases, you may not be eligible for disability compensation.

VA encourages the victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination who could be suffering from other conditions that they believe are related to the contamination to consult their primary care providers first for a conclusive review before they file a claim for disability compensation and veteran’s health care benefits. This is because the department “reviews and decides disability compensation on a case-by-case basis.”

Fortunately, VA offers veterans who served at Camp Lejeune during the specified period cost-free medical care for several other qualifying health conditions, including:

  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Even if your health condition doesn’t make you eligible for disability compensation, you may qualify for veteran’s health care–but you must prove that you served or lived in the camp for at least thirty days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987.

If you’re a relative of a veteran who worked at Camp Lejeune and you lived there with them during the specified time, you are also eligible for reimbursement of out-of-the-pocket medical costs related to any of the above-mentioned qualifying conditions. 

Of course, the VA only pays treatment costs that are beyond your other health plans. When you’re claiming this reimbursement, you must prove your relationship with a veteran who served at the camp and provide evidence to show that you lived in the camp during this period. You also need to show payment for the treatment of a covered health condition. 

If you’d like to go beyond filing a claim and instead work toward filing a lawsuit, a skilled personal injury attorney at Strom Law can help determine the compensation you may be owed and help you fight for justice.




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