On January 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) began processing PACT Act benefits claims for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during their service.
The act was the first legislation to open benefits and legal options for victims of the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune water contamination. Since the legislation passed in August 2022, more than 200,000 benefits claims have been submitted.
Thousands more Camp Lejeune veterans are believed to have been put at risk of serious illnesses, such as various types of cancer. Eligible Camp Lejeune veterans should file their benefits claims as soon as possible if they haven't.
The sooner these VA benefits claims are filed, the sooner these veterans and their loved ones can receive justice for the harm that was done.
What Happened at Camp Lejeune
Between 1953 and 1987, 1 million veterans, family members, and civilian workers were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
The water on the base was found to contain toxic chemicals that included benzene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride. Exposure to these chemicals is known to cause cancer and other health problems, including birth defects.
Some serious health conditions linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Pancreatic cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
These are just several of the many conditions linked to Camp Lejeune. Even if your loved one passed away decades ago, you may still be eligible for compensation on their behalf from a wrongful death lawsuit.
For decades, innocent people unknowingly put themselves at risk of multiple serious illnesses and cancers. While the contamination was discovered in 1982, contaminated water wells were not removed until 1985 and fully cleaned until 1987.
Unfortunately, veterans and their families were limited in their ability to claim benefits from the VA that could help pay for their medical expenses. For years a majority of all VA claims from Camp Lejeune victims were denied — until recently.
PACT Act and Camp Lejeune Justice Act Give Veterans Options
Passed in August 2022, the PACT Act and Camp Lejeune Justice Act set out to right the wrongs of the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Before this legislation, those who developed serious illnesses from the toxic chemical exposure were denied justice. The PACT Act greatly expanded veteran eligibility for benefits for the first time in 30 years. Additionally, it sought to create toxic exposure screenings for all veterans receiving VA health care.
The screenings aim to help veterans and their care team know what to be mindful of should symptoms of linked illnesses develop. Nearly 1 million veterans have received the new screenings, and nearly 39% have reported concerns of toxic exposures during their military service.
The PACT Act included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which allows veterans, family members, or civilians who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune to pursue lawsuits for their injuries in addition to claiming VA benefits.
Camp Lejeune lawsuits support victims by securing compensation they were denied for years, which can help pay for medical care or other expenses. However, Camp Lejeune veterans should pursue justice as soon as possible since lawsuits must be filed before August 2024.
Sokolove Law Helps Camp Lejeune Victims Pursue Justice
The legal process and the VA benefits claim process may seem overwhelming. Thankfully, Sokolove Law is here to help.
For more than 40 years, Sokolove Law has helped veterans and their families recover the compensation they need for medical treatment and other necessary living expenses. Now we may be able to help you pursue justice and Camp Lejeune settlement amounts in addition to VA benefits — at no out-of-pocket costs.
Financial compensation from a Camp Lejeune lawsuit will not impact, reduce, or adjust your current VA benefits in any way. You will simply receive additional compensation without interrupting any current benefits.