Presumptive compensation for diseases linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination is covered under the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. The act was enacted in 2012 and defines the eight diseases to be treated as service-related for Veterans Administration (VA) purposes.
Presumptive compensation may be available for military veterans, members of the National Guard, or former reservists at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between 1953 and 1987. The 30-day period can be cumulative rather than consecutive as long as all 30 days fall within the specified dates.
What Is Presumptive Compensation?
Under the provisions for presumptive compensation, the ruling states that service members suffering from eight specific conditions after serving at Camp Lejeune will be eligible for 100 percent compensation. The eight qualifying diseases are to be presumed as service-related. The final rule outlined in 38 CFR § 3.307 was updated on March 14, 2017.
What Are the Qualifying Conditions?
If your service at Camp Lejeune fell between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you may qualify under the presumptive service clause. Anyone diagnosed with any of these eight conditions after serving at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune may receive VA disability:
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Adult leukemia
- Myelodysplastic syndromes, including aplastic anemia
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
If you have any of the qualifying conditions and served at Camp Lejeune, it is presumed that your health problems are service-related.
How to File for Presumptive Benefits
To file for presumptive benefits, you will have to gather some documentation. First, you will need your military records that show you were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the affected period. If you don’t have these handy, you can request your records through VA by following the online directions.
Next, you will need copies of your medical records with your diagnosis. After discharge, you can get these from your civilian doctor. If you were diagnosed while still in the military, you could obtain your archived medical records by following the directions on their online access page.
Once you have your records and are ready to file your claim, you can file using the online filing system. If you need help, you can contact a VA regional office or request the help of a veterans service officer (VSO). The process can be confusing. Many service members and veterans enlist the help of a law firm that is familiar with the claims filing process.
If You Filed Previously and Were Denied
If you filed for compensation previously and were denied coverage before the clarification on presumptive coverage on March 14, 2017, you should reapply. Under the clarification, previously denied claims should be approved if you qualify under the presumptive condition definition.
Suppose you were previously denied compensation. It may help if you seek legal representation for a second request. Being familiar with the claims process and the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act can be helpful during the filing process.
If Your Condition Isn’t on This List
Suppose you have another health condition that you believe resulted from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. In that case, you may still file for compensation. Your claim will be reviewed, and you may qualify for compensation under other programs. You must provide the medical opinion that ties your condition to the contamination to file for an illness that is not on the presumptive compensation list.
If you are unsure about your medical condition and what benefits or compensation you may qualify for, it may benefit you to see an attorney who deals with claims. They are familiar with the provisions and can assist you in completing the necessary paperwork to file your claim.
What Are Other Health Conditions Covered?
Veterans and family members may qualify for health benefits or compensation for out-of-pocket expenses. There are 15 additional conditions listed under the Camp Lejeune Families Act. These are not automatically considered service-related, so they may not qualify for 100 percent coverage.
If you or a family member is currently suffering from or has any of the following, you can request medical coverage or compensation:
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Multiple myeloma
- Neurobehavioral effects
There may be other health conditions that qualify for compensation. If you feel you have a related illness, you may file a claim.
How do Family Members Get Benefits?
Family members will need to assemble documentation, including:
- Proof of relationship to the service member.
- Proof of residence at Camp Lejeune during the effective period.
- Medical records documenting the diagnosis.
There are different levels of compensation based on several factors. To ensure that you provide the appropriate documentation and fill out all the correct forms, it may benefit you to seek help from a law firm knowledgeable about the entire process.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve with Ben Crump Law, PLLC
The damage caused by the Camp Lejeune water contamination was extensive. The contamination period spanned more than 30 years, and even forty years after the discovery, people are still suffering.
You would deserve compensation if you were affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination. Ben Crump Law, PLLC offers a no-risk complimentary consultation if you have questions about your coverage under the law. Connect with our attorneys to discuss your case.