For many years, advocates for veterans assigned to Camp Lejeune have fought a tough battle to prove an association between the contaminated water at the camp and the serious medical conditions suffered by soldiers and their family members. This connection is important for the nearly one million residents of the camp to help them qualify for disability benefits from the VA.

Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is the second largest Marine Corps base in the U.S.  Since 1941 it has been home for hundreds of thousands of soldiers and their families. Between 1953 and 1987, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by dangerous chemicals, including solvents used at a dry-cleaning company nearby, military cleaning equipment, and leaks from underground fuel storage tanks. The concentration levels for these chemicals were found to be as much as 34 hundred times higher than allowed by safety standards. During that time, it’s believed that nearly one million military members and their families living at the camp were exposed to the polluted water—bathing in it and drinking it for extended periods of time. Later, countless residents developed serious medical conditions, including cancer.

Despite evidence from researchers and lawsuits over the polluted water, it took until 2009 before the government initiated investigations to look into the problem and why Marine Corps officials failed to fix it. Many victims of the contaminated water allege that the Marine Corp knew of the problem for years but hid it from Camp Lejeune residents and didn’t notify them of the potential health risks.

The VA has now acknowledged that prolonged exposure to the chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water increases the risk of certain health conditions including kidney and liver cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and aplastic anemia.

If you were assigned to Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, and you believe you or a family member suffers an illness caused by exposure to the camp’s contaminated water, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits. But bear in mind they can be can be difficult to win. That’s why it can be very beneficial to hire a disability attorney to help with your Camp Lejeune claim. Call us Cuddigan Law. We’ll schedule a free, no-strings-attached appointment to discuss your eligibility for benefits.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska