The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken their next step in handling the disability claims related to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The VA will be processing every disability claim filed and seeking compensation for exposure to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water in the VA center in Louisville, Kentucky. It is believed by handling all claims in one central location, the disability cases will not only be easier to follow, but easier to regulate for consistent decision making processes.
Multiple cancers, leukemias, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and other diseases have all been tied to exposure to the contaminated water on Camp Lejeune between the 1950’s and the 1980’s. Lejeune’s water has been called a “hazard” and although a 2009 report could not find a positive link between Lejeune’s water and the reported illnesses, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease countered this finding.
There have been about 200 disability claims filed from veterans exposed to Lejeune’s water. Of those, 20 have been approved. All claims must be reviewed the same way, which is why the processing center for the claims have been consolidated. The claims processors at the Louisville VA have received special training given the circumstances of these claims. It is imperative then that these processors each understand exactly what evidence they will need to process the claims.
Starting February, the VA will track every claim related to toxic water disability. Claims previously denied are not slated to be re-visited, despite allegations that they were not processed as carefully as they should have been. This is one point many people have been adamant about. If their argument is accepted, past denied claims will be looked at again.
Either way, the VA, the Navy, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all have studies in progress. Once the EPA study is published, TCE, a major contaminant in the Camp Lejeune water, will likely be declared a human carcinogen.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.