When people sign up for the military, they commit to serving and protecting their country. Service members also take on the prospect of dangerous risks during their time in the military. One might assume those risks would come from situations that involve physical conflict. However, some of the most dangerous situations for service members are the things they can’t see.
Between the years of 1953 to 1987, service members that were stationed at Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxic chemicals through drinking water. Polluted base wells were full of benzene and other types of industrial wastes. So, a large number of veterans and their families ingested contaminated water on a daily basis during their time on the base.
While people were exposed years ago, the damaging effects of pollution are present now. Ongoing legislation is leaning toward providing more relief to affected veterans and their families. The VA is giving eligible service members the option to file claims for disability benefits. However, the agency stipulates that they must have at least one presumptive condition. To learn more, visit this site.
The VA has a general outline of what it deems presumptive conditions to qualify for a VA disability benefit claim. However, some of these medical conditions are not obvious or difficult to diagnose. In fact, many veterans may be suffering from the effects of consuming polluted water and not be aware of it.
Some of the presumptive conditions that qualify include:
- Female Infertility
- Lung Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes
- Esophageal Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Renal Toxicity
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Neurobehavioral Effects
While the list is extensive, a service member may be affected in other ways that aren’t on the list. In fact, an affected veteran doesn’t actually need to be diagnosed with any of those conditions to make a valid claim if they lived or worked at the base during that time.
Are Family Members Eligible To File Claims?
Service members regularly live with their families on military bases, including at Camp Lejeune. As the drinking water was full of toxic chemicals, entire families were exposed to polluted water through daily activities. Essentially, affected veterans that had family members living with them during those years are equally affected by the contaminated water. This is particularly true if exposed family members have presumptive conditions.
So, yes, those family members are eligible and can also seek compensation through disability benefit claims from the VA.
Should You File A Claim?
Whether or not you have a presumptive condition, if you were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you are eligible to file a claim. Keep in mind that not all serious health issues are obvious and you could still be affected. Therefore, it might be in your best interest to file a VA disability benefits claim.
After filing a claim, the VA will try to determine the validity of the claim through submitted records. It is possible for the claim to be denied. However, there are legal options to appeal a denied claim. If you were exposed, you have every right to be compensated.
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