Were you stationed at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River for 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987? You may have been exposed to contaminated water.
Suppose you were affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. It might benefit you to seek counsel from a legal representative familiar with the details.
Compensation Programs Are Available
Affected personnel might be eligible for veterans benefits for the presumptive health problems specified in CFR 38 § 3.309(f). This coverage includes eight diseases that qualify as service-related disabilities no matter when diagnosed.
Families of service members may also qualify for benefits under additional programs approved with the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The nature of the contamination means the continuing discovery of damage as time passes.
The legislature is currently working on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 to improve coverage for families and service members.
Who Qualifies for Presumptive Benefits?
You may qualify for benefits if you are a former reservist, member of the National Guard, or Armed Forces veteran that served 30 days or more at Camp Lejeune. Your service must have occurred between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. There is no requirement for consecutive days, so reservists who were there only on weekends or for two weeks of active-duty training may count cumulative service days.
You must also have received a discharge that was not dishonorable.
Even though the diagnosis may occur many years after completion of service, the following presumptive diseases may receive treatment as service-connected for Veterans Administration (VA) purposes:
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Adult leukemia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Aplastic anemia (other myelodysplastic syndromes)
- Multiple myeloma
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
Suppose you have questions about your specific health problems. In that case, it may benefit you to discuss the matter with a legal representative familiar with the benefits process.
Filing for Presumptive Benefits
All claims with the government require you to supply proper documentation that you are qualified to receive benefits. The requirements for presumptive benefits are:
- Military records of your assignment at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River must show at least 30 days of service between August 1953 and December 1987. Service can be active duty, National Guard, or Reserves.
- Medical Records documenting the diagnosis of an illness on the presumptive conditions list in the above section.
If you opt to file on your own, you can use the online filing system with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). You may also request assistance from a veterans service officer (VSO) or a VA regional office.
If you need additional assistance, consider contacting a law firm that is familiar with filing claims.
What About the Families?
They may qualify for reimbursement of care costs for some diseases. Still, they might have co-pays and other fees not covered by VA. The coverage for family members includes reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment for any of the 15 health conditions listed in the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.
Family members must provide documentation to assess eligibility to qualify for these benefits. If you wish to file for coverage, you will need the following:
- Proof of relationship to a qualifying Veteran. This may include marriage licenses, birth certificates, and adoption certifications.
- Proof of base residency. Documentation showing 30 days of on-base residency occurring between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. These records may include base housing records or copies of assignment orders.
- Record of healthcare expenses. For residents living on Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987, reimbursement is available for care received on or after August 6, 2012. For residents there between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1956, care after December 16, 2014, might qualify for reimbursement.
What Happens If You Can’t Find Your Records?
If you can’t find your records, you can take a couple of steps. The first is filing your claim without evidence. The Department of Defense (DoD) will attempt to find documentation to support your claim when that happens. Still, the search may take longer, delaying the review of your application.
There are several ways to begin the application process. You may fill in the application online, then download, print, and mail it through regular mail. Attach copies of your documentation and maintain the originals for your files. Additional instructions and clarification are available from VA. You may also call 1-866-372-1144 for assistance.
If you need help and don’t want to rely on the government options, it may benefit you to seek help from a law firm familiar with the claims filing process. A good law firm can help you locate and compile your evidence and file the appropriate forms to expedite your claims process as much as possible.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC Today for Help Obtaining Benefits
If wading through complicated legislation, filing forms, and compiling documentation is overwhelming you, consider talking to the water contamination team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC. Our team is familiar with the process and can guide you through it. Call for a free consultation. We will discuss your claim and explain how we can help.