What chemicals were in the water at Camp Lejeune?
A treating doctor may want to know what chemicals you were exposed to at Camp Lejeune. PCE, TCE, benzene and vinyl chloride were known to have been present along with other volatile organic compounds in smaller quantities. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently working on a model of the water systems at Camp Lejeune, in order to provide more specific information on what chemicals were in the water, where, and when.
What benefits are provided in the bill?
For veterans and families, hospital care and medical services for the treatment of the specific illness or condition, (listed below) will be provided. For family members, the VA will be the "payer of last resort", meaning that other insurance available to them must pay first, with the VA reimbursing for the cost of care only after all other insurance options have been exhausted
Who qualifies for benefits under this bill?
A veteran who served on active duty for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 is eligible for hospital care and medical services for the following illnesses and conditions:
Veteran's family members, who resided at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1957 and 1987, or who were in utero during this time, are eligible for hospital care and medical services for the same illnesses and conditions.
Why is it limited to these illnesses or conditions?
These illnesses and conditions are strongly associated with, or linked to, the contaminants in the water. For other conditions such as ALS, MS, and Parkinson's there is not enough conclusive evidence at this time. ATSDR is currently conducting studies that will try to determine the health effects of the water, including illnesses not currently included on this list. Several studies are due out in late 2012 and early 2013. A large health survey of residents is not due out for several years, but will be very important in determining the effects of the water on the population. ATSDR has a website for all of their Lejeune related worked. That website is: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/index.html
What happens now?
VA will provide care immediately for veterans suffering from the diseases and conditions listed in the law. Information on Camp Lejeune is available on their website:
Because the law requires that specific spending authority be provided by Congress before VA can provide this benefit to family members, there could be a delay in family members receiving benefits.
Other sources of information:
The Navy has a web page dedicated to the Camp Lejeune drinking water. While we do not always agree with their description of the events at Lejeune, they have created a registry for those exposed to the water. We recommend that if you have not yet registered, you do so in order to get any future notifications.
What about Civilian Workers?
Federal civilian employees should be aware that they may have some recourse under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). If you were a federal employee working at Lejeune and you think you were affected by the water, you should discuss the issue with your doctor to help determine if you should file a FECA claim.
For more information on FECA claims go to: