VA Establishing Presumption for Conditions Resulting From Exposure to Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune
Friday, October 9th, 2015
In August, the VA announced that it has begun the process of amending the regulations in order to establish a presumption of service connection for certain conditions which resulted from exposure to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Meaning that, if a Veteran can establish he or she was stationed at Camp Lejeune, and if he or she subsequently develops a condition which the VA has conceded is associated with exposure to the contaminated water, then the VA will automatically presume the Veteran’s current disability is related to his or her exposure to the contaminated water, and will grant entitlement to service connection. This upcoming change in regulations is incredibly beneficial to the Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune. Just as some Vietnam Veterans were able to obtain disability benefits on a presumptive basis due to their Agent Orange exposure, Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune could potentially receive disability compensation if they subsequently develop a condition which the VA recognizes is related to exposure to the contaminated drinking water.
The conditions the VA is currently considering as potential presumptive diseases include kidney cancer, angiosarcoma of the liver, and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). However, the VA will work with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to review the available scientific literature and research regarding exposure to the chemicals found in the contaminated water, and determine what additional disabilities could be included in the list of presumptive conditions.
If you have any questions about how the Camp Lejeune presumption could impact your claim, please contact a member of our Veterans Benefits Group.