For decades, drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina from 1953 to 1987 has been suspected of causing deadly diseases among high numbers of veterans who lived there. In 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs promulgated a rule creating a legal presumption that certain conditions were service related and eligible for healthcare benefits. Finally, on January 13, 2017, the VA issued a new rule creating a legal presumption that certain diseases are eligible for disability benefits. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, our attorneys have been working for years to help Camp Lejeune veterans obtain the VA disability benefits they deserve. The new rule, effective March 14, 2017, should make the process much easier for disabled service members.
Most disability claims require proof that a condition is service related. But when the VA creates a presumption that a condition arose from service in a particular place at a particular time, the applicant for benefits need only show the existence of the disabling condition and a record of service at the required place and time.
In the new rule for Camp Lejeune, the VA presumption applies to active-duty, Reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, who are diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
While the new presumption covers Camp Lejeune service of Reserve and National Guard personnel, expanding the VA’s statutory definition of “veteran,” which was previously limited to active-duty service members, those service members must become disabled during active-duty service to qualify. Our attorneys are ready to assist veterans throughout the United States.
According to the Camp Lejeune water contamination study done by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), two water distribution systems on the base showed evidence of contamination.
The Tarawa Terrace water distribution system contained contaminated water from June 1957 through March 1985. The contamination source was an off-base dry cleaning business with a septic system that released cleaning fluid into the ground. When toxic contamination was detected, the Tarawa wells shut down in 1985.
The other water distribution system that led to Camp Lejeune water contamination was at Hadnot Point. Leaking underground fuel storage tanks contaminated these wells. In 1984, Camp Lejeune personnel discovered contamination during a water quality sampling. Eight of the 39 Hadnot Point wells and one of the seven Tarawa Terrace wells were identified as contamination sources and led to the camp abandoning these wells in 1985.
If you have filed a claim for benefits and have been denied by Veterans Affairs, an attorney may be able to help with your appeal today.
The new rule only applies to new or pending claims that have not been decided yet, effective March 14, 2017. The provisions to this rule do not apply to cases that were filed and decided prior to March 14, 2017.
Many Camp Lejeune veterans have had to endure a long, frustrating process and unjustified denials of their claims. If your application has been denied, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban can help, anywhere in the country. Contact us online or call 866-866-VETS. Someone is always available to talk to you, even if you cannot come to our offices.
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