Were you stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and thought you had moved on with your life? Maybe you started to develop coordination, sensory disturbances, confusion, depression, tension, trouble concentrating, etc. Maybe later, you started developing sicknesses and cancer, like your other buddies, the base-housed moms, their now grown kids, or base employees?
You May Be Entitled to Benefits
Sadly, unless the U.S. Senate acts, only some military veterans of the United States could be eligible to receive disability benefits for specific diseases or a neurobehavioral effect resulting from exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water, as will be discussed. First of all, benefits are only available for presumptive conditions. However, if things change, others, including Camp Pendleton personnel, their children, a civilian mother, father, or base employees with deficits in attention reaction or lack of coordination sensory may be eligible to seek benefits for long-term exposure to toxis drinking and bathing water.
First, they must receive a proper diagnosis. If your headache turned into liver cancer, our fingers are crossed on your behalf until the legislative process is completed on behalf of the Marines.
The veteran doesn’t need to prove their service connection. Instead, the V.A. presumes that your conditions are connected to the military service because you meet certain criteria. One common example is Vietnam veterans qualifying for conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. The Paul Ehline Memorial Ride was designed to aid in this legislative process, as it is the responsibility of fellow Marines to care for each other, which is part of what makes us different.
However, a lesser-known example coming to light for presumptive conditions is related to the contaminated water supply at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. Veterans, civilians, family members, and reservists stationed here during a particular time period are presumed to have long-term exposure to contamination of statistical significance.
As former military myself, I understand the increased risks you face as things come to light. You may have drunk contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and experienced a slow onset of multiple sclerosis, mood swings, slow reaction times, and other issues. Likewise, positive trends indicate deficits in attention, even at low concentrations of the contaminants. These lead to behavioral problems, and you should receive disability compensation because you served at that time period.
Camp Lejeune is the only U.S. military base with severe enough contamination to carry presumptive conditions. Men and women stationed there from 1953 and 1987 are presumed to have drunk contaminated water. It contained chemicals such as Perchloroethylene/Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and Trichloroethylene (TCE), which could damage health impacts and effects.
Roughly one million reservists, active-duty military, family members, and civilians are in this exposure group. In fact, the water they drank on site was so contaminated that the V.A. had to create the Camp Lejeune Families Act in 2012 and the VA Rule 38 CFR 3, which became effective in March 2017. Overall, this made certain health conditions presumptive so that a military family member or veteran could receive free health care if they had been stationed at the site.
The Camp Lejeune program includes various health conditions and brings on more, recently adding Parkinson’s Disease to the list.
You or a family member could also suffer from these qualifying health conditions, though they aren’t presumptive for compensation:
Since the conditions listed above aren’t presumed to have happened because of your military service, you must apply to the Camp Lejeune legislation coordinator through the Department of Veterans Affairs to get reimbursed for treatment costs and show evidence of your eligibility into the program.
If the committee concludes that you did not fall ill because of your time at Camp Lejeune, you may contact Ehline Law Firm for assistance if you live in one of the areas we serve.
Military and their family members stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 for 30 days or more are considered eligible for presumptive benefits, health care, and health care reimbursements. This includes active duty military, the National Guard, reservists, and exposed workers for the listed conditions above.
Camp Lejeune includes a 246-square-mile area East of Padgett/St. Rd 50, South of Holly Ridge, West to Hubert, and North to Jackson.
Several studies have shown a neurobehavioral impairment from TCE in low doses, and people with histories of organic solvent exposure are described to have panic disorders, schizophreniform psychosis, and PTSD.
These toxic substances lead to the patients developing severe health problems of all sorts. However, neurobehavioral issues are one of the worst. Finally, the V.A. clinical guidance came up with legislation to protect military personnel and get them appropriate health care.
While these studies had limitations, including recall bias, few statistics, and little incidence data pertaining to certain conditions, the committee recommends that Parkinson’s Disease be included.
The Environmental Protection Agency believes that all health care should be paid to the people exposed to toxins at Camp Lejeune. It’s up to them to fight for their rights.
Various studies have been conducted, including one from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) found TCE, PCE, and benzene in well water at Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The levels reached higher than what regulations considered to be safe, and experts claim it was the most contaminated water ever discovered in the history of the U.S.
The term – neurobehavioral effects – refers specifically to conditions related to the nervous system actions and behaviors. While it currently doesn’t include neurologic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease, things are likely changing.
The symptoms of such neurobehavioral effects can include:
Most people had no idea that they were consuming contaminated drinking water.
Many tests and reports have been created by different companies, including various national academies and universities. It’s complicated to identify and test for such neurobehavioral deficits because there are thousands of practices, and it’s a science to determine which one is best for a particular disorder.
The WHO (World Health Organization) found a screening battery sampling the widest range of functions people could complete in one hour. The seven most-used toxins were included, including carbon disulfide, mercury, and lead. Exposed subjects were accurately tested, but it took a lot of money and time.
The NES was created in the mid-1980s to offer computer-based testing focused on the adverse effects of workplace exposure to certain toxins in the ’90s.
This was created when NES and NCTB recommendations expanded with a broader array of functions and sensitivity to lower exposures found within the environment.
The University of Pittsburgh also studied toxic solvents and how they affected people. The findings included poor concentration, social alienation, and much more.
One NCBI study showed that long-term exposure, even to lower concentrations of TCE, could cause neurobehavioral issues.
The NRC even agrees that the V.A. should cover and include the neurobehavioral effects of consuming the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Testing can help doctors identify the dysfunction and function of chemical exposure and determine if such neurobehavioral symptoms are the reason for your illness.
V.A. health care is available for anyone in the military, whether on disability or not, if they were at Camp Lejeune during that period. Health care and reimbursements are open to civilians and family members who experience the 14 qualifying conditions.
Yes, presumption claims from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune must meet these eligibility requirements:
Evidence requirements include:
If you didn’t meet the 30-day requirement and feel that your water contamination and chemical exposures resulted from Camp Lejeune, you may apply for the direct connection listing.
If you served at Camp Lejeune while in the Marine Corps, you could be entitled to disability compensation because of the water contamination. Your health conditions might be covered, and we can help. Please call (833) LETS-SUE today!
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.