If you are a veteran who was exposed to the toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina at any time between 1953 and 1987, you may have an increased risk of developing a variety of health conditions. Some service members may not be aware that their health issues are related to contaminated water exposure because the problem went on for decades before the public became aware of it.
Research models have been created by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry as they attempt to discern further details in terms of exactly where the contamination occurred on base and how ‘intense’ it was as the water was saturated with an array of volatile organic compounds that included benzene, dry-cleaning chemicals, and degreasers—along with 70 or more other toxins.
Eligibility for Disability Due to Contaminated Water Exposure
If you served on active duty and were living at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune from anywhere between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987, you may be eligible for disability compensation. Health problems associated with the contamination are numerous cancers from esophageal cancer to lung cancer and more, along with other conditions such as myelodysplastic syndromes, miscarriages and disorders of the reproductive system, neurobehavioral effects, and other issues. The VA states that if you are enrolled in VA health care, you are eligible for coverage regarding those health conditions. You do need to be enrolled, and have evidence showing you were stationed at Camp Lejeune from anytime between 1953 and 1987 for at least 30 days.
Other diseases are now considered presumptive in connection to the veteran’s military service at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987, to include:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
You will need to show that you were at Camp Lejeune from 1953 and 1987 and are diagnosed with one of the above conditions to apply for disability. You will not need to prove a service connection for any of these diseases.
For other health conditions, you can still apply for VA benefits, but you will need to provide evidence showing that your disability is connected to your military service. You can get help with this process from an experienced veterans attorney.
If you are a veteran working to file a claim for disability benefits due to exposure to the contaminated water, or if you want to file an appeal and need to speak with an attorney, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick. For immediate help, call 401-331-6300 or contact us online.