Last August, we reported that the VA was considering expanding the list of conditions eligible for VA Healthcare caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. At that time, they assembled a team to start discussing this matter.
On December 17, 2015, instead of announcing that they were simply adding conditions, the VA announced that it is now proposing to also grant eligibility for disability compensation to veterans exposed to the contaminated water.
Currently, veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, are eligible to receive healthcare (but not disability compensation) for 15 conditions, and the VA also reimburses eligible family members for exposure-related healthcare costs.
Now, the VA is proposing that the following conditions be added to the VA Presumptive List for veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during that time:
Kidney Cancer Leukemia
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Multiple Myeloma
Parkinson’s Disease Scleroderma
Aplastic Anemia/Myelodysplastic Syndromes
All conditions on the VA Presumptive List are presumed service-connectedand thus eligible for full VA Disability Benefits, including both healthcare and disability compensation.
In addition, the VA is also proposing to expand this eligibility to include Reserve and National Guard members stationed at Camp Lejeune during that time. It will be presumed that they were exposed to the contaminated water and, in certain circumstances, to be disabled by that exposure, allowing them to be eligible for VA benefits.
While proposed, these changes have not yet gone into affect. The VA is currently working to finalize these regulations, and until they are published, it can’t grant any disability claims for these conditions. However, the VA does encourage vets who served at Camp Lejeune during that time to go ahead and submit a VA Disability Claim if they have conditions they believe are related to their exposure. It can’t be approved until the final regulations are published, but they’ll keep the claim on hold until then.
As soon as those final regulations are published, we will let you know. Until then, the VA will continue to grant claims that are covered by current regulations. To see if you are eligible for healthcare benefits for the 15 conditions already covered, visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/index.asp. To get more information about reimbursement for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for eligible family members, go to https://www.clfamilymembers.fsc.va.gov.