CBS News recently reported that following years of holdups, veterans exposed to contaminated water while serving at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina are eligible for a portion of $2 billion in disability benefits. The historic benefits come after the Department of Veterans Affairs determined that there is enough scientific evidence showing that exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune is connected to eight medical conditions:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Liver Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Adult Leukemia
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Aplastic Anemia
- Multiple Myeloma
- Bladder Cancer
The benefits will be available starting in March. Active duty, National Guard members and Reserve service members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987 will be eligible to apply for the benefits. The VA estimates that up to 900,000 veterans were exposed to contaminated water during that time, but that only around 23,000 will apply and qualify for the disability benefits.
These benefits will serve as a supplement to VA healthcare that eligible veterans are already receiving. When applying, veterans must provide service information as well as evidence of their diagnoses.
How Can Vets Exposed to Contaminated Water While at Camp Lejeune Recover Disability Benefits?
Applying for veteran benefits can be a complicated process. In some cases, veterans are denied benefits and may have to go through the appeals process. Veterans should speak to an experienced veterans’ benefits attorney with a history of success before applying for benefits. A VA benefits lawyer can explain the process to veterans, make sure they know their rights and help them avoid roadblocks that could lead to a denial of their claim or an unsuccessful appeal.
Will This Extend to Dependents Who Contracted Illness or Disease as a Result of the Contaminated Water?
At this time, we don’t have the answer but we won’t be surprised if some type of compensation is not provided in the future for dependents that were injured by the contaminated water. We will keep everyone informed of future developments.