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Paying Out for Lejeune Contaminated Water Exposure: Military Connection

Military Connection: Camp Lejeune

By Debbie Gregory.

From 1953 through 1987, people serving or living at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. This chemical exposure may have led to adverse health conditions.

In 2009 the U.S. federal government initiated investigations into the allegations of contaminated water and failures by U.S. Marine officials to act on the issue. In February 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that the contaminated water at Lejeune significantly increased the risk of multiple cancers including liver, kidney, and ALS. In August 2012, President Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act into law, in honor of Jerry Ensminger and his daughter Janey, who died of cancer at age 9, to begin providing medical care for people who may have been affected by the contamination.

The qualifying health conditions include the 15 specific ailments believed to be linked to the contamination, including cancer of the esophagus, lung, breast, bladder or kidney; leukemia; multiple myeloma; myleodysplasic syndromes; renal toxicity; hepatic steatosis; female infertility; miscarriage; scleroderma; and/or neurobehavioral effects or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Veterans who are determined to be eligible will be able to receive VA health care. In addition, care for qualifying health conditions is provided at no cost to the Veteran (including copayments). Make sure to inform the VA that you served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during the covered time period. If you’re already enrolled, contact your local VA health care facility at http://www.va.gov/ directory/guide/ to sign up for the Camp Lejeune Program and receive VA care. Otherwise, apply online at http:// www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/ or call toll-free 1-877-222-8387. *Note- A Camp Lejeune veteran does not need to have one of the 15 health conditions to be eligible to receive VA health care, nor do they need a service connected disability to be eligible as a Camp Lejeune Veteran for VA health care.

Eligible family members can receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred from the treatment of qualifying health conditions after all other health insurance is applied. You must show your relationship to a Veteran through a marriage license or birth certificate. The VA will assist you in verifying residency on Camp Lejeune during the covered timeframe. Gather up your reimbursable expense receipts and apply online at https://www.clfamilymembers.fsc.va.gov or call toll-free 1- 866-372-1144.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Paying Out for Lejeune Contaminated Water Exposure: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Expanded Window for Claims: By Debbie Gregory

Camp Lejune water

From the 1950’s  through the 1980’s, civilian contractors, service members and their families living or working on the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, were potentially exposed to contaminated drinking water.

For decades, complaints blamed on the water at Lejeune, including serious ailments such as cancers, infertility, neurobehavioral effects, and deaths, have plagued the base. In 2012, the Janey Ensminger Act was signed into law. The bill was named for the daughter of a Master Sergeant who developed leukemia from the water at Lejeune, and died in 1985 at the age of nine.

As part of the Janey Ensminger Act, the U.S. government approved compensation benefits for anyone affected by the base’s contaminated water supply. At the time the bill was passed, eligibility for compensation benefits had only been open to Marines and family members who lived on base at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987. Also, a full investigation into the water supply and its effects were ordered.

The findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Camp Lejeune’s water supply were released in February, 2014. The report found that people who regularly drank the water at Camp Lejeune were at a 10% higher risk of dying from any type of cancer, compared to those who regularly drink the water at Camp Pendleton, California. There was a 35% higher risk of kidney cancer, a 42% higher risk of liver cancer, a 47% higher risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a 68% higher risk of multiple myeloma, and double the risk of ALS.

In light of the 2014 report, the act was amended in December to expand eligibility for family members affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Under the amendment, family members who lived at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, could be eligible for VA health benefits.  This amendment opens the eligibility window by four years.

Anyone who resided on base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and who suffers from one or more of the following conditions, is eligible for the benefits: Esophageal cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, renal toxicity, female infertility, Scleroderma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, hepatic steatosis, miscarriage, and neurobehavioral effects.

Family members would have to show proof of relationship to a Veteran who served at Camp Lejeune and provide copies of orders or base housing records as proof of residence on the installation.

To enroll online or for more information, call 1-866-372-1144 or visit publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Expanded Window for Claims: By Debbie Gregory