Veterans exposed to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water supply could seek disability compensation through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). They must have certain health conditions and have been at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, during a specific time frame.
If you meet the criteria, you could receive disability benefits, including compensation payments and health care. Sometimes family members can also get help with health care costs.
What Are the Health Risks from Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?
Researchers have linked several health problems to exposure to the chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune, as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) explains. For example, it might contribute to the development of several types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and severe kidney problems.
Children exposed in utero to the contaminated water may have severe deformities or disabilities, and exposed pregnant women had a greater risk of a miscarriage. Some of the health problems from the tainted water do not develop until years later. So, even though the dangers of exposure reportedly ended in the late 1980s, some people are still suffering from the impact of exposure and receiving treatment for severe health problems.
For Which Disabilities Can I Get Compensation?
Suppose you are a veteran who was at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987, and you now have specific health problems. In that case, you may qualify for compensation payments and health benefits.
The VA notes you must have one or more of the following disabilities to be eligible for disability benefits:
- Adult leukemia or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which are cancers that impact the white blood cells
- Aplastic anemia or other myelodysplastic syndromes, which are disorders that impact the red blood cells
- Bladder, kidney, or liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma, which is cancer affecting the immune system’s cells
- Parkinson’s disease, which affects nerves in the body
To get disability benefits, you must not have received a dishonorable discharge. When you file for disability benefits, you will need to show proof that you meet all eligibility criteria. For example, you will need to prove you have one or more of the specified medical conditions. You can use medical records or bills to prove this, among other documents.
Who Else Qualifies for Disability Compensation Through the VA?
The VA also offers compensation to cover the health care costs of family members who used the water at Camp Lejeune. For example, the VA may reimburse you for out-of-pocket medical expenses if you experienced one or more of the following conditions:
- Bladder, breast, esophageal, kidney, or lung cancer
- Other types of cancer, including leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Miscarriage or female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis, a disorder affecting the liver
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal toxicity, which damages the kidneys
- Scleroderma, a skin disorder
If you are a family member who used the toxic water supply at Camp Lejeune, you will need to prove you lived at Camp Lejeune during the specified time frame and confirm that you have one of the related disorders.
Why does It Help to Consult an Attorney on a Camp Lejeune Matter?
Sometimes, applying for disability compensation through the VA can be confusing and involve complexities that a lawyer can manage on your behalf. It is also possible that the VA could deny your claim. Seeking legal help with your application can help improve the ease of the process and possibly increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
The contingency fee structure at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can help start your case sooner. We do not require payment unless we help you recover compensation, allowing you the freedom to seek help in understanding your legal options and pursuing them if that is what you wish to do.
Can I Sue the Government for Compensation?
Right now, suing the government isn’t an option, but it could be if pending legislation passes. North Carolina’s laws bar this type of lawsuit because of specific time constraints. Even though people are still experiencing exposure-related health problems, the time frame for exposure was many years ago.
The proposed Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 would override these limitations and give veterans the chance to sue the government for compensation. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in March 2022, but the Senate needs to approve it before it heads to the president, who would sign it into law. You would have two years after the government enacts the statute to file a lawsuit.
Get a Free Consultation with Us Today
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, is ready to fight for you to get you any compensation you deserve after your time at Camp Lejeune. If you believe the contaminated water supply at the base led to your health problems, we would like to talk with you.
When you consult with us, we will carefully review your case’s facts and evidence to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits. Contact us today for a free consultation.