Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
The Camp Lejeune water contamination problem occurred at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 and impacted both service members and their families. If you served there during this time and have experienced health issues, you may be entitled to health and disability benefits. Give us a call today to discuss your claim.
If you are a Veteran who was exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you may qualify for disability benefits or an increased disability rating under a new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rule. The rule establishes a presumption of service connection for eight illnesses (see below) associated with contaminated water at the base. It applies to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River.
Additionally, under a 2012 law, veterans and their family members who lived at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period can receive certain VA health care benefits if they suffer from one of 15 illnesses linked to the base’s contaminated water.
Who Qualifies for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Disability Benefits? For decades, service members and their families at Camp Lejeune were exposed to contaminated water that contained high levels of toxic chemicals, including:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal cleaner
- Tetrachloroethylene, a dry cleaning agent
- Benzene, a chemical found in gasoline
- Methylene chloride, a chemical solvent used in labs and to remove paint
- Vinyl chloride, a colorless gas used to make polyvinyl chloride, which is used to make plastic products
In January 2017, the VA published a new rule that makes it easier for veterans to obtain disability benefits or increase their disability rating if they suffer from one of eight diseases associated with contaminated water. The VA presumes that the veteran incurred or aggravated the disease while in service at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, which is located on the military base, and that the veteran suffers from a disability.
Presumptive service-connected diseases are:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease.
If you are suffering from one of these diseases, the VA presumes that it is service-connected meaning the VA does not require the Veteran to provide proof that the contaminated water caused their illness. Instead, a veteran must prove the following:
- The veteran received a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable from active duty, reserve or National Guard service.
- The veteran served at Camp Lejeune (or MCAS New River) for a total of at least 30 days – consecutive or non-consecutive – between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- The veteran currently suffers from one of the eight presumptive conditions.
If your health issues might be related to your exposure to contaminated water during your time at Camp Lejeune, we can help. Also, if your previous Camp Lejeune water contamination claims were denied a long time ago, it may have been based on old law. You should consider filing a new application because of the changes in law. Our attorneys are experienced working with Veterans and will make sure your rights as a Veteran are protected. Give the team at Argos Legal Group a call today to discuss your claim.