Posted on 29 Apr, 2016
At last, change is coming for Camp Lejeune toxic exposure victims! The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) has been taking baby steps towards establishing presumptive disability conditions for Camp Lejeune Veterans who were stationed there between 1953 and 1987. In 2012, fifteen conditions became eligible for VA healthcare, but four years have passed and still no change for Vets seeking service connected disability.
On December 17, 2015, the VA announced its plans to add presumptive disability for the following conditions:
The VA has allowed fifteen conditions for healthcare benefits, but is only proposing inclusion of a handful for presumptive disability compensation. The other eight conditions that didn’t make the list include:
If you suffer from one of the above conditions, you still have a claim for VA Service Connected Disability Compensation. Here’s what to do:
The first step is to file VA Form 21-0966 Intent to File a VA claim. This form preserves an effective date from the time you submit the form, but give you a year to gather evidence to support your claim.
After you preserve your effective date, begin gathering evidence. Eligibility for VA Service Connected Disability Compensation requires you to prove a causal nexus and the severity of your conditions. To prove a causal nexus for non-presumptive conditions caused by Camp Lejeune water toxicity, you should provide evidence that you were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953-1987 and ask your doctor to draft a causal nexus letter. Once you establish that your condition is “at least as likely as not” caused by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, then you develop the evidence to support the severity of your condition.
To prove the severity of your condition, you should submit all medical evidence and treatment related to your condition. You can also ask your doctors to complete Disability Benefits Questionnaires.
The VA has only approved 6.5 of all Camp Lejeune related claims. For the eight proposed presumptive conditions, approvals should skyrocket. For the conditions that did not make the presumptive list, approval rates are still low. In both instances, hiring an attorney can increase your chances of success and expedite the process.