By: Ryan Spencer, Veterans Disability Benefits Attorney
VA published a final interim rule today regarding Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated Veterans, 82 FR 4173. The effective date for this rule is March 14th, 2017 and no earlier. To be eligible for benefits under this new ruling you must meet the below requirements.
Overall the rule can be considered good and bad. It is good because it expands the scope of coverage to include National Guard and Reservists who otherwise would not be eligible for benefits. Additionally, it adds some diseases not allowed under the prior 2012 Act. However, it is troubling that older cases that have been denied and appealed are barred from using this rule in upcoming decisions. As it stands, current Veterans who have appealed prior claims have no right to use the provisions of this new and favorable rule solely because their case was already denied. Essentially, it is as if the rule was never passed into law. Additionally, we are bothered by the VA’s reliance on service records as the sole source of authority on whether a Veteran was stationed at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more. In a perfect world the Department of Defense and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs would maintain all records perfectly and never lose said records. Unfortunately, time has proven otherwise. The VA and DOD have repeatedly lost, destroyed or “misplaced” records. For Veterans who are the victim of this mishandling of records, there is no recourse. Finally, we are disappointed that the VA refuses to create a special class for eligibility purposes for the families that lived on base with the Veteran. To deny spouses and children, especially those who were born on base, compensation akin to the Veteran is essentially the same as saying “You don’t matter.” Based on VA’s reasoning for this denial, Congress should delegate specific authority to the VA to enable such a class to be created for this specific rule.
At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban we’re determined to see all Camp Lejeune veterans get the benefits they deserve. Call us from anywhere in the nation at 866-866-VETS or contact our office online.
Thank to Mr. Spencer I was able to get my VA disability claim re-reviewed and given another chance to receive disability. By far he is one of the most professional lawyers I have ever dealt with. So Veterans if you are looking for help with your VA disability claim I would suggest that you hire Macari, Russotto, Spencer, & Balaban. Thanks again for everything.
— Alfred Daye
As a disabled veteran trying to navigate the complexities of the Veterans Administrations regulations, I turned to the law firm of Marcari, Russotto, Spencer and Balaban. They helped me understand what I needed to do and prepared and presented to the VA an excellent presentation of my case. I recommend them for your legal needs.
— Harry Johnson
I was very satisfied with the excellent and professional manner the law firm handled my claim. I highly recommend any veteran who needs help with his or her claim to use Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban P.C. Special thanks to Mr Spencer for being very professional and courteous during the appeal process. Again Thanks to the entire firm for a job well done!
— Luther Henderson
My husband & I highly recommend this law form to any veteran trying to navigate the endless red tape of the VA. We turned to Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban to handle my husband's appeal and could not have been happier. We enjoyed open and consistent communication regarding our case. Any questions we had were answered immediately.
— Michele DeZayas
Amanda Medina-Morales was our point of contact and she kept us up to date on the progress of our case. It was a pleasure and relief knowing that someone truly competent and professional was handling this and fighting for us.
— Michele DeZayas