Camp Lejeune Toxic Exposure Victims Now Have Access to VA Healthcare

18 Jul 2012

In a major boost to the rights of veterans who were exposed to contaminated well water at Camp Lejeune, Congress has proposed expansion of Veterans Affairs Department treatment for people who were exposed to the well water.  California veteran benefits lawyers agree with this proposal.

The proposal is contained in the comprehensive bill HR 1627. The proposal would include Navy and Marine Corps members and their families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and were exposed to well water contaminated by carcinogens. The veterans and their families were exposed by drinking and bathing in the contaminated water. These veterans and their families were exposed to the contamination between the 1950s and 1980s. As many as 750,000 people are believed to have been exposed to the water.

For many years now, North Carolina lawmakers have been calling for the federal government to cover the costs of health care for persons who were exposed to the contaminated water, and suffered illnesses. While there was agreement about the need to provide healthcare for veterans exposed to these carcinogens, there was plenty of disagreement about which entity would be responsible for the care. The Camp Lejeune base is owned by the Defense Department. Now, it has been proposed that the Veterans Affairs Department be responsible for covering the illnesses and injuries resulting from the contamination.

This is a very important proposal, and any such step to include veterans as well as their families in healthcare plans by the Veterans Affairs Department, is rare. The Veterans Affairs Department typically concentrates on treatment for veterans, not their families. Veterans, who were stationed at the Camp Lejeune Base between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987 for a minimum of 30 days, may be eligible for the coverage.