With the passage of the Honoring our PACT Ac t in August 2022, Veterans Affairs has added new presumptive conditions which qualify individuals for Disability Compensation and will allow both service members and civilians harmed by exposure to Camp Lejeune water contamination to seek compensation.
With the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, part of the Honoring our PACT Act, in August 2022, individuals, family members, or workers injured by toxic drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina can now receive compensation for their injuries. Individuals are now eligible for disability payments, healthcare, and compensation based on injuries caused by spending more than 30 days serving, living, or working at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Service members, family members, and civilians who worked at Camp Lejeune during this time period and have developed serious illness, cancer, suffered a miscarriage or birth defects, are eligible to file a claim.
This is different from the VA’s existing disability compensation system, whereby service members who suffered an injury or illness caused by their service can receive VA Disability Compensation if the VA finds that their injury or illness was caused by their service. For more information on VADC benefits, click here.
Many chronic illnesses, neurological conditions, reproductive disorders, and cancers are now recognized as connected to exposure to toxic chemicals present in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Both those who were directly exposed to chemicals at Camp Lejeune and their family members may pursue a claim.
Gulf War Era – Burn Pit Exposure
The PACT Act also included 23 new presumptive conditions for service members who suffered toxic exposure in the Gulf War due to burn pits. Service members who serviced in Southwest Asia or the Middle East on or after August 2, 1990 for some locations, or on or after September 11, 2001 for other locations, are presumed to have been exposed to toxins from burn pits in the regions. The VA now recognizes many serious illnesses as so linked to exposure to these toxins, that if an individual both served in this area during this time period, and later developed one or more of these conditions, they are automatically considered to be connected to service.
The VA added the following cancers as presumptive conditions: Brain cancer, gastrointestinal cancer of any type, glioblastoma, head cancer of any type, kidney cancer, lymphatic cancer of any type, lymphoma of any type, melanoma, neck cancer of any type, pancreatic cancer, reproductive cancer of any type, and respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type.