Members of the military who were stationed at Marine Corps Air Station or Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune prior to December 1987 may have been exposed to contaminated water that can cause major health problems. For some individuals, these medical conditions were a costly endeavor because of the extensive medical care they received. Some might not have been able to work.
While there are some people who served there who might be able to get compensation easily, there are others who will have to fight for the compensation they deserve. Working with an attorney who’s familiar with these cases is often beneficial, especially when you consider the deadlines present in these cases.
Who is Eligible for Compensation?
Only people who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge and served at one of these two camps for at least 30 consecutive days from August 1953 through December 1987 might be eligible for compensation. They must also have a diagnosis from a doctor for one of the conditions on the pre-set presumptive list.
Civilians who worked on the base aren’t eligible. Only guardsmen, reservists, and veterans are eligible. They may receive repayment for health care expenses, as well as monetary compensation. To get their benefits, they have to comply with some very strict standards.
Family members of veterans who served at these two camps during the specified service period might qualify for the repayment of medical expenses. There is a different standard for these cases, so it’s crucial to review the requirements. An experienced attorney can help you learn more info.
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What Conditions are Presumptive?
There are 15 medical conditions the VA considers presumptive. These include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal toxicity
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All of these conditions are known to have come from contaminated water. There were two on-base water wells that were shown to have contaminants present. They were closed in 1985. Before their closer, servicemembers who were on the base and their family members living on the base were exposed to harmful chemicals, including vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, benzene, and perchloroethylene. Other contaminants may have also been present in the water.
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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles these cases in a very specific manner. You have to be able to show that you paid for medical expenses during the covered term. For people who served from August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1956, the covered term is care that was received on or after December 16, 2011, and up to two years prior to applying for benefits. For people who served from January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987, the dates are August 6, 2012, and up to two years prior to the application date.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of red tape involved with getting the benefits you’re due. It’s best to work with someone familiar with the requirements so you don’t waste any time getting the compensation you deserve.