Veterans News: Camp Lejeune contaminated water
From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Camp Lejeune, NC were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene and other chemicals.
Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987 may be eligible for VA health benefits for 15 conditions. They are:
• Esophageal cancer
• Breast, kidney, bladder and lung cancer
• Renal toxicity
• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
• Myelodysplastic syndromes
• Hepatic steadtosis
• Female infertility
• Neurobehavioral effects
H.R. 1627 signed on August 6, 2012 publishes regulations for veteran health care and interim final regulations for family member health care. This law applies only to health care, not disability compensation. At this time, the VA believes there is insufficient scientific evidence to establish a presumptive association between service at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination and the development of certain diseases. Veterans may file a claim, however, for health problems they believe are related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, and the VA will decide these claims on a case-by-case basis. As a Veterans Service Officer, I recommend you file a service-connected disability claim if you feel you have a condition or conditions caused by exposure to contaminated water. Your claim will almost definitely be denied but at least you have it on record if the condition(s) is approved as presumptive in the future.
Veterans who meet the criteria above and who have any of the conditions listed can receive medical treatment for those conditions at a VA health care facility but must apply using a VA form 10-10EZ. Family members may be reimbursed for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses related to those conditions, but the VA will only pay for treatment after the family member has received payment from all other health plans.
For more information about this or any other veterans benefit, contact the Oneida County Veterans Service Office.
Tammy Walters is available at (715) 369-6127, or firstname.lastname@example.org.