Camp Lejeune Water Contamination: VA Benefits for Veterans and Families

An unoccupied house in the Tarawa Terrace neighborhood in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
This May 9, 2007, file photo shows some older unoccupied housing in the Tarawa Terrace neighborhood in Camp Lejeune, N.C. The sprawling installation is the site of one of the worst drinking water contaminations in U.S. history. (Gerry Broome/AP Photo)

Since the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs has provided disability compensation to U.S. service members and health benefits to both service members and families exposed to the contaminated drinking water at the North Carolina Marine Corps base from the 1950s to the 1980s.

If you or a family member develops one of the “presumptive conditions” listed by the VA and you can show that you lived or served on either Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Base New River, North Carolina, for at least 30 days from Aug. 1, 1953, to Dec. 31, 1987, you may qualify. A condition is presumptive when it’s presumed to be related to the water contamination without further evidence.

VA Benefits Are Separate from PACT Act Claims

The VA administers its benefits related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune separately from the legal process authorized in 2022 by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and administered by the Navy and Justice Department. VA officials confirmed in an email to that settlements awarded under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a part of the PACT Act, won’t affect eligibility for VA benefits.

However, benefits received from the VA may affect a final Camp Lejeune Justice Act settlement amount.

VA Disability Compensation for Camp Lejeune Illnesses

The VA provides disability compensation only to service members who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days during the specified timeframe.

Conditions presumed to be connected to military service at either base that may qualify a veteran for disability benefits include:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Here is information about filing a VA disability claim.

VA Health Care or Reimbursement for Camp Lejeune Illnesses

Free VA medical care for veterans, and paid or reimbursed medical care for family members, may be available for the following Camp Lejeune-related medical conditions:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

Family members include spouses, birth and adopted children, and other legal dependents. They must have lived, or lived in utero during their mother’s pregnancy, at one of the two bases during the applicable timeframe.

Here is information about applying for VA health care.

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