Camp Lejeune has been home to Marines and their families for decades. Its location relative to the Atlantic Ocean makes for quick deployments. Most people underestimate the size of the base. Camp Lejeune is actually 246 square miles. To put that in perspective, in West Virginia, the capital city of Charleston is nearly 33 square miles. Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is 221 square miles, and the island of Manhattan is only 22 square miles. So, it’s larger than a lot of cities, and thus, it operates as its own community. There is a post office, restaurants and so on. They also have their own water supply and treatment facilities. For decades, part of that water supply was contaminated by nearby fuel supplies. A lot of Marines and their families drank and bathed in that contaminated water. Now, they are suffering some serious health effects.
In 1987 the situation with the water became public knowledge, and the USMC worked to rectify the problem. This was nearly 30 years ago, yet the VA never established a list of presumptive conditions for these Veterans. Veterans familiar with Agent Orange exposure or Gulf War Illness already have a good understanding of what a presumptive condition entails. For those who may not be aware already, though, a presumptive condition is one that the VA claims a Veteran could have if he or she were in specific place during a specific time. For Vets who served in Vietnam, Diabetes is a presumptive condition. In other words, if you’re a Veteran who served in Vietnam, and have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you don’t have to prove that the condition came from your time in service. The VA assumes that your exposure to Agent Orange is what caused your diabetes. The same is true for certain conditions for Veterans who served in Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East. The VA has an established list of conditions that Veterans may have as a result of their time in country.
The VA is finally a step closer to making a presumptive list for Camp Lejeune. In fact, they actually have a list of conditions they believe are associated with the water contamination. According to the press release, the following list applies to active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served no less than 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987. (Marines aren’t the only ones who served at Camp Lejeune.)
It’s important to note that this is not an official presumptive list. In other words, it’s not the law yet. It does, however, mean that we are closer than ever before to getting this list established, though. It also means that the official list is probably just around the corner. If you served at Camp Lejeune during the periods listed above and have one of the aforementioned conditions, it’s time to get your affairs in order. If you haven’t filed a VA disability claim before, this might be the time to do so. To learn more about the possible presumptive conditions, or to schedule a free evaluation, fill out this form today.