Updated Rule for Presumptive Status


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has proposed a new rule that could trigger a flood of disability compensation claims from veterans suffering from health problems that they say are linked to the contaminated water supply at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.


If it is finalized in its current form, the rule would grant ailing veterans who served at Camp Lejeune over four decades “presumptive status†that their maladies were caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in the water at the North Carolina base. The wording is similar to language in a 1991 law that offered compensation to veterans who were exposed to dioxin-laced Agent Orange defoliants sprayed on the jungle during the Vietnam War.


The proposed rule, published Friday, September 9, 2016,  in the Federal Register, effectively modifies a 2012 law that provides VA health coverage for veterans who served at the North Carolina base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1981.


The notice says the comment period is 30 days instead of the usual 60 because time is of the essence for roughly 30 terminally ill vets to file claims.


The proposed rule covers eight diseases related to exposure to volatile organic compounds that were improperly disposed of and infiltrated Camp Lejeune’s water supply — “adult†leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease and aplastic anemia.


“If you have one of those conditions then you don’t have to go further with paperwork and documentation to prove that it was caused by the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. It is presumed that it was,†said VA spokesman Randy Noller.

TET 68 survivor