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Veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s may qualify for VA disability benefits. Under VA rules, veterans with qualifying service at Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River are entitled to presumptive service connection for certain disabilities—meaning those veterans do not have to present proof that their disabilities are related to drinking the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Finally, in 1985, the military shut down two wells that contained the contaminated water. The move came only after heavy pressure from veterans, families, and veterans advocacy groups.
In January 2017, the VA published a new rule that makes it easier for veterans to obtain disability benefits if they suffer from one of eight diseases associated with the contaminated water.
Normally, to obtain VA disability compensation, a veteran must show three things: (1) a current disability, (2) an in-service injury or illness, and (3) a link between the in-service injury or illness and the current disability.
Under the VA presumptive rules for contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, under some circumstances VA will presume an in-service injury (exposure to contaminated water) or a link between a disability and in-service contaminated water exposure—or both—for certain veterans. This makes it much easier to prove a connection to service and gain VA disability compensation benefits.
For exposure to be presumed, the veteran must have certain service experience. For a medical link to be presumed, the veteran must have exposure to contaminated water and one of eight disabilities that the VA has determined is highly linked to exposure to contaminated water. See the questions and answers below for more details.
Even if a veteran does not qualify for the presumptions of in-service exposure to contaminated water or a link between a current disability and service, the veteran can still obtain VA disability benefits—but his or her claim must show more evidence of a connection to service.
In addition, separate from disability compensation, 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.
Berry Law Firm can help qualifying veterans to appeal or reopen their existing disability claims and seek other benefits related to Camp Lejeune water contamination. We work with veterans and their families nationwide. Contact us today to discuss your case.
If you believe that you qualify for Camp Lejeune water contamination-related VA benefits, you have the option of undergoing a medical examination. You can go to your own doctor or to a VA Medical Center. The examination will determine whether you suffer from a presumptive condition.
A separate law, The Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, provides health benefits to veterans and their family members.
As explained above, generally to obtain VA disability compensation, a veteran must show three things: (1) a current disability, (2) an in-service injury or illness, and (3) a link between the in-service injury or illness and the current disability.
Once service connection is proven for a disability that was the result of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the amount of monthly, tax-free payments that a veteran receives will depend on their specific disability and how much that disability affects earning capacity.
Many of the attorneys of Berry Law Firm are veterans who help veterans to pursue the VA disability benefits they earned through their service and sacrifice. We appeal wrongly decided claims on behalf of veterans nationwide before VA Regional Offices, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and higher courts.
Founder John S. Berry Sr. is a Vietnam veteran, while John S. Berry Jr. is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia. Many other members of our legal team are also veterans.
Founded in 1965, Berry Law Firm has assisted thousands of veterans from across the country and obtained millions of dollars of compensation on their behalf.
The VA finally agreed that veterans exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River deserve disability compensation. However, the VA still denies many meritorious claims that don’t happen to qualify under the easier rules explained above. Or even if the VA does agree that a disability is due to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, it may not grant the full benefit amount that a veteran deserves.
At Berry Law Firm, we help veterans to appeal denied claims. We have decades of experience fighting for the benefits that disabled veterans deserve for their service and sacrifice.
We can help you fight for the full benefits you deserve, including gathering relevant military records and medical records and developing expert legal arguments in support of your appeal.
If you served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River and suffer the effects of contaminated water, contact us about your case. We want you to receive the VA disability benefits you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case.
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