Rulemaking Could Delay Camp Lejeune Benefits for Another Year

In March, our blog helped spread the good news that “Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald has decided to propose presumptions of service connection for certain conditions associated with chemical solvents that contaminated the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from 1953 to 1987.” The presumptions would speed claims for suffering veterans who would not have to prove causation for a number of illnesses, including numerous cancers, scleroderma and Parkinson’s disease.

Unfortunately, as Hawaii News Now reports, the rulemaking process for the presumptions may take another year to complete, an unwelcome and in many cases disastrous delay for ailing vets. Although she did not specify a definite time period for the VA to write its rules, VA spokeswoman Walinda West released an email stating, "Rulemaking will be required, which is typically a slow process because it calls for public notice and a comment period." West promised, however, “The VA will make every effort to get this done as quickly as possible."

The Veterans of Foreign Wars expressed its disappointment at the delay. Spokesman Jerry Manar wrote, "The VFW is disappointed that VA hasn’t moved more quickly to amend its regulations. Having decided to grant presumptive service connection for the residuals of exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, VA’s slow pace ensures that many of these sick veterans are forced to endure financial hardship along with debilitating illness. The longer VA waits, the harder it is for veterans and their families to endure."

At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we’re determined to see all veterans get the benefits they deserve in a timely manner. If you are a Camp Lejeune vet with a qualifying health condition, our dedicated veterans’ benefits attorneys may be able to facilitate your claim. Call us from anywhere in the nation at 866-866-VETS or contact our office online.

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