The Marine Corps has amorphous beat to hundreds of bags of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., at atomic 30 canicule from August 1953 to December 1987, agreeable them or actual spouses to book for VA advantage if veterans suffered one of eight ailments affiliated to baptize contagion on the base.
On Wednesday, the Corps beatific an email “blast” to added than 120,000 Lejeune veterans who had aggregate accepted online addresses on a anthology created to yze and brainwash abeyant victims of attenuated bubbler baptize at Lejeune over a 34-year period, in an era that concluded 30 years ago.
The email explained that veterans who can appearance they served at Lejeune from Aug. 1, 1953, to Dec. 31, 1987, for 30 canicule or more, are now acceptable to book fast-track VA affliction advantage claims for eight conditions. The “presumptive” ailments for Lejeune vets are developed leukemia, aplastic anemia and added myelodysplastic syndromes, float cancer, branch cancer, alarmist cancer, assorted myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.
The Marine Corps will chase its email bang with a postal commitment of 200,000 notifications over the aing several weeks to home addresses on book with the Camp Lejeune Historic Bubbler Baptize website: https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/Home.aspx.
The commitment will admonish veterans and survivors that medical science affirms a able affiliation amid compounds that leached into bubbler baptize at Lejeune and the eight ailments. On March 14, a final VA adjustment accelerated the processing of condoning for affliction pay. Even conduct reservists who spent weekends and anniversary training at Lejeune, additionally for a absolute of at atomic 30 days, will be activate acceptable for VA advantage if they accept one of the presumptive ailments.
If Lejeune veterans died from any of the ailments, their actual spouses or accouchement will see claims for Dependency and Indemnity Advantage (DIC) fast tracked too, beneath the accelerated action accustomed for Lejeune victims.
Years ago, studies accepted that Lejeune baptize had been attenuated by benzene, vinyl chloride and two airy amoebic compounds — trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser; and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning agent.
In 2012 Congress anesthetized the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which opened VA medical affliction to Lejeune vets diagnosed with one of 15 ailments affiliated to the pollutants. Because ancestors associates aren’t acceptable for VA care, the law fabricated VA payer-of-last-resort for Lejeune ancestors associates diagnosed with one of the 15 illnesses if their employer or ancestors bloom allowance fails to awning all ysis costs or they accept no insurance.
By December 2015, then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald vowed to use his secretarial ascendancy to ysis the science afresh and activate compensating Lejeune vets for disabling altitude best associated with the attenuated water. A year later, VA appear an acting aphorism that activate eight of the aboriginal 15 altitude accepting a able affiliation to actinic exposures at Lejeune.
A VA abstruse assignment accumulation led the absolute reviews of evidence, alive with the Department of Bloom and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Ache Registry, explained Bradley Flohr, chief adviser for the Veterans Allowances Administration’s Advantage Service, in a buzz interview.
“We advised medical [and] accurate letters of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program and Ecology Protection Agency, which looked at these contaminants and the abeyant for development of diseases,” he said.
VA’s final aphorism March 14 allows acquittal of claims application the presumptive altitude to begin. Presumptive ailment claims can be advised by any VA bounded office. If Lejeune claims absorb any non-presumptive illnesses, however, they still charge be referred to the Louisville Bounded Office, which coordinates to accept an ecology bloom specialist ysis the affirmation and accord a medical opinion.
That process, Flohr said, still “takes absolutely a bit of time.”
More than 18,000 Lejeune veterans accept filed advantage claims in contempo years for about 50,000 medical conditions. Only 1,100 of these veterans accept apparent at atomic one claimed action accustomed for compensation, Flohr said.
“Of the 50,000 different altitude we decided,” Flohr said, “about 39,000 were for what we chic ified as assorted conditions. That is, we accept no added class to put them in. They’re not cancers [or] annihilation abroad we would track.”
Most of the claimed altitude appearance no affiliation to exposures at Lejeune.
“They are filing claims for annihilation — audition loss, arthritis, aching backs — all kinds of things with no accord to the contaminants in the water,” Flohr said.
The Navy Department estimates that from 1953 through 1987, about 900,000 veterans were stationed at Camp Lejeune —including 123,000 assets cadre who conducted weekend drills and anniversary training there. Of all of those veterans, VA projects that about 12 percent, or aloof over 107,000 of alive assignment veterans, reservists and survivors will book claims by 2022 account $2.2 billion.
Among aboriginal claims actuality advised beneath the new adjustment are 1,400 filed over the accomplished year that VA backward rather than denied because they complex one of the eight altitude now accounted presumptive. They will be accustomed bound “if they don’t absorb any non-presumptive conditions,” Flohr said. “This is absolutely authoritative it a lot easier for accession who has one of these eight diseases.”
Flohr added that over time added medical studies and new accurate affirmation could abutment abacus diseases to the presumptive account for Lejeune.
The Marine Corps mailings will appetite veterans who had beforehand claims denied, decidedly if they complex one of the anew presumptive ailments, to re-file their claims. They will be accustomed at atomic aback to March 14 but possibly to an beforehand able date if the affirmation ties their action to Lejeune exposures, Flohr said.
VA never provided advantage afore to assets basic associates for ecology exposures involving weekend drills and anniversary training against periods of alive service. The Lejeune bearings in that attention is different and could actualize some challenges to certificate 30 days’ assets time exposure.
“It may not be all that difficult but it ability be in some cases,” Flohr said.
The Marine Corps hopes to ability as abounding Lejeune vets as accessible about the new presumptive diseases. In accession to the website, it operates a alarm centermost Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time. The buzz cardinal is 877-261-9782
Lejeune vets with medical affirmation of a presumptive ache and abstracts assuming Lejeune account in the aeon of contagion can book claims application VA Form 21-526EZ. Veterans Account Organizations can advice book for benefits. Claims additionally can be filed electronically through eBenefits.
To comment, address Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120 or email [email protected] or twitter: Tom Philpott @Military_Update
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