Camp Lejeune is a former military base located in North Carolina. The camp was built in 1941 and became the biggest Marine Corps training base during World War II. After the war, Camp Lejeune continued to be used for training purposes until it closed down in 2010.
In 2012, officials found that drinking water at Camp Lejeune had been contaminated with toxic chemicals, including benzene and trichloroethylene (TCE), which were released into the ground at some point between 1953 and 1987 when an off-base dry cleaner improperly disposed of hazardous waste products. As a result, those who lived there during this period experienced fatal diseases and conditions. If you are one of them, follow the below steps to get your compensation quickly.
Step One: Determine Eligibility
If you or a loved one was located at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you might be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
You must fulfill the following conditions to qualify for compensation:
- You served as a member of the armed forces at Camp Lejeune during this time period (or you are the dependent of an individual who did).
- You were diagnosed with one or more of the symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination.
If you are not fulfilling these conditions, then it is unlikely that there will be any benefit available under this program.
Step Two: Submit a Claim
The next step would be to collect the relevant documents that support your claim and then submit your claim to the official body. In this case, the concerned body is the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. In order to submit a claim, you can either download and print out the Camp Lejeune Incident Compensation Form or fill out the form online at the VA website. Remember to include all of the information from Step One as well as any additional documentation or proof that supports your claim.
If submitting online, make sure you thoroughly check and read all the information before the final submission; this will help ensure that everything has been properly filled in. Once all required fields have been completed and submitted, it should take no more than 30 days for an official response from the VA regarding whether or not they will grant compensation based on your disability level.
Step Three: Provide Support for Your Claim
Once you’ve collected your documents, it’s time to tell the VA what exactly happened. In this case, VA will need proof that you drank water contaminated with harmful chemicals at Camp Lejeune. Not just that, you will have to show proof that you have been diagnosed with a disease associated with contaminated water.
Possibly, they are going to need photos of yourself in uniform while serving at Camp Lejeune, as well as any official documents showing where on base you lived during this time period. VA is not likely to release compensation unless we know exactly how much time was spent there.
Step Four: Follow Up or File an Appeal
After you’ve completed the three steps above, it’s time to follow up with the VA to ensure that your claim is being processed. If it isn’t, ask why not and jot down everything they say. If you are denied by the VA, don’t panic. You can appeal their decision within one year from when they made their decision on your initial claim.
If your claim was denied without the appeal process because of lack of evidence or another reason related to how much information was available about Camp Lejeune at the time of filing, then you can pursue other options to get compensation. Contacting a lawyer who specializes in military law may help them find ways around this issue and move forward with getting compensation for people like yourself who were affected as children by drinking contaminated water during childhood/adolescence while living near Camp Lejeune.
The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune brought immense suffering to those who were exposed to the contaminated water filled with harmful chemicals. The incident spared no one; children, adults, and elders all faced adverse health effects and are still going through fatal diseases. A small ray of hope is the government’s compensation to anyone who spent at least 30 days of active duty time at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period.
For the sake of your health, it’s important to take action regarding this issue. The government has admitted that there is a link between cancer and exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This means that you could be entitled to compensation for your illness or injury if you follow the above-mentioned steps.