Veterans affected by tainted water can apply for benefits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following a lengthy battle by military veterans, who were
exposed to tainted water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the government has now
said scientific and medical evidence proves a link between the exposure and eight
diseases. Because of that, those affected can apply to receive government benefits.

In the early 1980s, trichloroethylene, a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene, a
dry cleaning agent, as well as benzene and vinyl chloride, were discovered in two
on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced the rule change late last week,
to provide disability benefits — totaling more than $2 billion — to active duty, reserve
and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30
cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 — who have been
diagnosed with any of the following eight conditions:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

According to VA, the area included is all of Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, as
well as satellite camps and housing areas. As many as 900,000 service members
may have been exposed to the tainted water and those affected can now submit
applications for benefits.

“We have a responsibility to take care of those who have served our Nation and
have been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” said outgoing Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. “Establishing a presumption for service at
Camp Lejeune will make it easier for those veterans to receive the care and benefits
they earned.”

VA sats the contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in
February 1985.

The new rule will be effective March 14, 2017. Follow the link for more information on
the new benefit ruling, including contact information if you have questions