Camp Lejeune Toxic Water: New Rules for Veterans

1/13/17 UPDATE: VA has issued the Camp Lejeune Rules regarding disability compensation.  Read this article to find out about the new rules and how they could help veterans and their families.

Attention Camp Lejeune veterans and families:  Veterans Affairs has issued a news release that will send shockwaves through the VA disability compensation claims process.  On December 17, 2015, VA announced it will propose expanded disability compensation eligibility for veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

You can find VA’s full press release here.  For those familiar with the presumptions related to Agent Orange for Vietnam veterans, this change will probably work similarly.  Although these changes are just a proposal right now, they appear to have the full support of VA Secretary McDonald.  To us, it looks as though these changes will take effect; now it is only a question of when.

Water tap with green poison droplet pouring out Camp Lejeune: The Tragic Backstory

In case you have not heard, Camp Lejeune’s water supply was contaminated from leaking storage tanks that leached toxic chemicals into the ground water from 1953 to 1987.  Percholoroethylene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, benzene, and other petroleum contaminants were in the water that Marines and their families used on a daily basis for bathing, drinking, and cooking.  Generations of Camp Lejeune veterans and their families have experienced higher than expected rates of a host of diseases.

For years, the government denied any connection between the toxic water and the health problems.  New scientific studies by the Veterans Health Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) have provided solid evidence that there is indeed a connection between the contaminants and the wide array of diseases experienced by those who were at Camp Lejeune.

Proposed Change for VA Claims Related to Camp Lejeune Toxic Water

Right now, Camp Lejeune veterans must prove service-connection if they claim their disabilities are related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.  That requires evidence of toxic water exposure and a nexus to their current disability.  That can be too difficult and expensive for many veterans or their survivors.

Because each claim requires so much scientific evidence, it also creates a claims processing nightmare for VA.  In light of the scientific studies by VHA, ASTDR, and other organizations, VA is
proposing new rules that would create a presumption that certain diseases are service-connected.  Those diseases are:

Veteran’s Health Administration already has a list of presumptive diseases that qualify eligible Camp Lejeune veterans and their families for VA healthcare.  But, that list covers more diseases than the proposed list of presumptive diseases for VA disability compensation.  It will be interesting to see if the final change is more in line with VHA’s list.  There is good scientific data supporting VHA’s list, so hopefully there will be equal treatment on the disability compensation side.

What Camp Lejeune Veterans Will Qualify for These New Presumptions?

The proposal limits the presumption to veterans with one of the listed disabilities who served at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.  Although the Secretary’s statement does not specify how much exposure is required, our attorneys believe the final rule could be in line with the rules already in place Camp Lejeune-related healthcare.  That is, if the veteran was stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, VA will presume he or she was sufficiently exposed to the contaminated water there.

Here is one major change: this new presumption could potentially cover Camp Lejeune service of Reserve and National Guard personnel as well.  That would be a dramatic expansion of VA’s statutory definition of “veteran,” which has been limited in the past to active duty only.

Our Attorneys Are Monitoring These Developments

Our VA-accredited attorneys at Perkins Studdard, LLP have long recognized the need for VA to do something about the Camp Lejeune disability compensation mess.  We have seen too many veterans and their survivors denied benefits that common sense says were caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.  We are pleased to see this positive development and will be bringing you updates as they happen.

In the meantime, if you have questions about a VA disability compensation claim, whether related to Camp Lejeune or anything else, feel free to contact us.  You can complete the form on this page for a free consultation, or you can give us a call at (770) 214-8885 to discuss your claim.

1/13/17 UPDATE: VA has issued the Camp Lejeune Rules regarding disability compensation.  Read this article to find out about the new rules and how they could help veterans and their families.

What if I have more questions about my VA claim?

I understand you want your VA claim to be done as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal – to win your VA disability compensation claim.

You may eventually get there on your own, but it may be after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are appealed and remanded several times, which can cause a claim to drag on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delay in your claim and want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea for you to consult with an accredited veterans disability attorney.

We would be happy to talk to you. If you would like a free consultation with our Perkins Studdard veterans disability attorneys just click here or give us a call to begin the process.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.
Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.
js_loader

Related Posts

Contrast:

Font Size: