If you or a family member has served in the Marine Corp. or Navy, you’re likely to have heard about the chemically tainted drinking water servicemen and their families were exposed to at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune for almost 35 years. If you actually served or trained at Camp Lejeune, you’re probably aware that the federal government has allocated approximately 2.2 billion dollars in benefits to veterans who were exposed to the contaminated water. But the government has also instituted strict guidelines over who, exactly, is eligible for these benefits and who is not. Let’s look at what qualifies a person for this compensation.

Location of Service

They must have served at Camp Lejeune. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines service as “any service within the borders of the entirety of the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.” This is important because the Camp covers 156,000 acres (246 square miles) and includes the satellite camps of Marine Corps Air Station New River, Camp Geiger, Stone Bay, Courthouse Bay, Camp Johnson, and the Greater Sandy Run Training Area. Family members of servicemen who lived on the base are also eligible for benefits for exposure to contaminated water. The same applies to servicemen on ships that docked at the base’s port to refill their water tanks.

Eligible Time Period

Not only do you have to have served within the borders of the camp, you also have to have served during the period when the camp’s water was contaminated. Camp Lejeune was built in 1941 and is still being used today, but the water is only considered to be contaminated between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st 1987.

Amount of Time Exposed

To be considered eligible for benefits, you also have to have served at least 30 days in the camp. These don’t have to be consecutive days, but they have to total 30 or more. If you were at Camp Lejeune for two weeks of training, you would not qualify for benefits. However, if you served at the base in the Reserves or National Guard on weekends (two days) for 15 weekends, you would have met your 30 day requirement.

Approved Ailments

In order to be eligible for government benefits, you must be diagnosed with one of the following ailments:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Renal Toxicity
  • Female Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome
  • Scleroderma (Crest syndrome)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Hepatic Steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Neurobehavioral Effects

If you feel you may be eligible for government benefits due to your service at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, you’ll need to contact an experienced Camp Lejeune injury lawyer. Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP has been helping injury victims recover their losses for over 50 years. Call them for a free consultation at (212) 986-7353.

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Posted in: Personal Injury