Archive for August, 2020


Receiving Benefits for Service at Camp Lejeune

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Generally, a veteran who has developed a condition needs a medical opinion stating that the condition resulted from service in order to receive service-connected benefits. However, a new regulation went into place on March 14, 2017 which allows veterans with service at Camp Lejeune during a specific period to receive service-connected benefits on a presumptive basis if they developed one of the recognized conditions. This regulation means that no medical opinion is required for certain conditions, so long as the veteran served at least 30-days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.

Which conditions are recognized?

The VA may grant service-connected benefits without a medical opinion if a veteran with the required service develops one of the following conditions:

How do I file a claim under the new regulation?

You can file a claim for service-connected benefits (for one of the conditions listed above) by completing and submitting VA Form 21-526EZ. State the approximate dates served at Camp Lejeune and attach copies of medical records showing your diagnosis. If you have service records showing you were stationed at Camp Lejeune, it is helpful to include them. If not, simply let the VA know the approximate dates of service and ask them to request copies of your personnel/service records.

What if you develop one of the recognized conditions, but didn’t serve for a full 30 days at Camp Lejeune?

There is still a possibility of being granted service-connected benefits. The veteran can file a claim and submit records showing a currently diagnosed condition; evidence of exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune; and a medical opinion from a doctor who concluded that the currently diagnosed condition developed because of the exposure at Camp Lejeune.

How do I file a claim if I was at Camp Lejeune for less than 30-days, but developed a recognized condition?

You will need to send in a completed VA Form 21-526EZ, and you’ll want to send in the evidence discussed above. Gather medical records showing your diagnosis, records showing that you were stationed at Camp Lejeune and/or exposed to contaminated water, and a medical opinion from a doctor who concluded that you developed your condition because of your in-service exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Keep in mind that certain facts or details about your service may be helpful to highlight to the VA. For example, if you can show that you had a lot of exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune (say, you had to shower three times a day, or your job required you to be in or around the water all day), submit a statement explaining how much contact you had with the water. If your doctor believes the exposure you had was sufficient/high risk enough to cause you to develop your condition, make sure the doctor includes in the opinion a statement explaining  to the VA that you didn’t need to be there for 30-days to be at risk for developing your condition.

Though this regulation is highly favorable to veterans seeking service-connected benefits, veterans who do not fall within the new guidelines are still just as eligible for benefits as before. Whether you are thinking about filing a claim, or have received a denial from the VA, give us a call at (877) 838-1010 for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Presumptive Service-Connected Agent Orange Disability Compensation

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Agent Orange is a highly toxic herbicide that was used by the US military during the Vietnam War. Colorless, it is known as “Agent Orange” because of an orange band painted on the drums used during storage and transport.

About three million veterans served in Southeast Asia, and no one knows for sure how many of these veterans were exposed to Agent Orange. Some service members were deployed in areas during and immediately after spraying, and others actually handled the chemical. Veterans exposed to Agent Orange have reported a variety of serious health problems and symptoms.

Based upon scientific studies, the VA has developed a list of certain diseases which are presumed to have developed as a result of a veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange during military service. These are known as “presumptive diseases.”

What must you show the VA to qualify for disability compensation?

The VA recognizes the following specific areas and specific times as adequate exposure to Agent Orange for presumptive service-connected disability compensation. You may qualify if:

Which diseases does the VA recognize as linked to herbicide exposure?

You must also have a current diagnosis of one of the diseases found on the VA’s list of conditions linked to herbicide exposure. These include:

What if I do not meet the service requirements?

If you do not meet the service requirements to benefit from the presumption, you may still be entitled to benefits; you will need to have evidence to prove your exposure to Agent Orange during your military service and that you suffer from a condition on the list described above. Additionally, if you develop a condition which is not on the list, you can still get service connection by providing evidence from a doctor that shows the development of your condition is related to Agent Orange exposure.

Have questions? Our team of attorneys and paralegals is standing by to provide answers.

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