About Time: Relief for Camp Lejeune Victims
Financial relief for the water contamination victims at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. has not come easy. Or quickly. However, some aid is on the way, finally. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Camp Lejeune victims will be able to have out-of-pocket health care costs covered. Of course, this was first promised two years ago – when it became a law.
On August 4, 2012, Congress passed a landmark Act “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families.” Now, more than two years later, the VA says it will start doling out reimbursements in late October for victims costs incurred since March 26, 2013. Not everyone is necessarily giddy about the relief.
“As far as I’m concerned so many people have already died,” says retired Marine Jerry Ensminger, whose 9-year-old daughter, Janey, died of leukemia in 1985 as a result of the Camp Lejeune water contamination. “They just keep dragging this thing out.” Mike Partain, another vocal former Marine who was born at Camp Lejeune, agrees with Jerry. He blames the VA’s two-year delay on “institutional apathy and incompetence.”
Of course, slow relief is better than no relief. As Republican Senator, Richard Burr of NC – who proposed and fought for the legislation – says: “it has been a long time coming. Unfortunately many who were exposed to the contamination water have already died as a result of their exposures and will not be able to receive the help this law provides. I full expect the VA will now move swiftly to implement all the regulations and extend a helping hand to the victims of this tragic episode in our nation’s history.”
To Apply or Learn More:
Veterans and family members who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1957-1987 can apply for paid benefits by enrolling with the VA online or at a local VA health facility. To learn more about the VA’s Camp Lejeune Program, including eligibility, visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/.
If you have questions or want to learn more about the VA’s Camp Lejeune Program call the Bell Legal Group and we will be happy to walk you through the process: 843.546.2408.