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Link Between Contaminated Water and Disability Claims

December 10th, 2015

For more than thirty years, the United States Marine Corps was responsible for exposing soldiers stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to toxic chemicals through contaminated water. Policies have been reformed since that time to provide healthcare coverage and disability benefits to those victims, but statistics show many are still struggling to receive the compensation they deserve.

Congress passed a bill three years ago that provides health coverage to veterans and their family members whose health was affected by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. However, the law didn’t provide those individuals with disability benefits. Instead, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) hired a group of experts to decide whether or not a health condition suffered by a veteran or their family was caused by contaminated water. Those experts repeatedly provided opinions that were in contrast to a treating medical professionals’ opinion and ultimately denied many claims for disability benefits. In fact, the percentage of contaminated water disability claims that have been approved has fallen from 25 percent to just 8 percent since 2012.

An article from WNPR News explains this decline in approvals has prompted several veterans advocacy groups to seek documentation from the VA about their handling of contaminated water claims through the Freedom of Information Act. They hope the information they gain can be used to conduct a further investigation of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune.

Our legal staff at HensonFuerst has seen the devastating results exposure to contaminated water has had on many of the families stationed at Camp Lejeune and we applaud the organizations that are continuing to work to expose the harm that was done.