Filing a Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim
Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, also known as the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. This was set in place to provide compensation and medical care to veterans and their families who were exposed to the water at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. To file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, veterans must first demonstrate that they were stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987 and that they have been diagnosed with 1 of the 15 conditions recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as being associated with contaminated water exposure.
Below, we will discuss the proper way to pursue a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claim.
Obtain the Proper Documents
Gathering the necessary documentation is the first step in filing a Camp Lejeune claim. Veterans must present their military service records, including their DD-214, which details their dates of service and discharge status. They will also be required to provide medical records demonstrating their diagnosis of one of the fifteen conditions linked to exposure to contaminated water as identified by the VA. Veterans are encouraged to gather any medical records from their time at Camp Lejeune, as well as any records of illnesses or conditions they have been diagnosed with since leaving the base, according to the VA website.
File the Claim with the VA
After gathering the necessary documentation, the veteran can file a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claim with the VA. The claim can be submitted online through the VA’s eBenefits portal, by mail, or in person at a VA Regional Office. The veteran must submit VA Form 21-526EZ, an application for disability compensation, and related compensation benefits. Veterans who file a claim online through the eBenefits portal can expect a response from the VA within 30 days, per the VA website.
Wait for the Review
After filing the claims, the VA will review the claim and determine whether the veteran is eligible for compensation and medical care under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. If the VA determines that the veteran is eligible, a monthly compensation rate, based on the severity of their condition, will be awarded. The VA will also provide medical care for the condition caused by exposure to the contaminated water. Veterans awarded benefits under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will receive a letter from the VA explaining the amount of their monthly compensation and the medical care they are entitled to receive.
Seeking Support with the VA
It should be noted that the VA has a responsibility to assist veterans in developing their claims. This means that if the veteran lacks all the required documentation, the VA will assist them in obtaining it. If necessary, the VA will also assist veterans in obtaining medical opinions from qualified physicians. Veterans who need assistance gathering the necessary documentation or obtaining a medical opinion should contact the VA regional office where they filed their claim.
VA Appeals Welcome
Another important detail to note is that veterans who have already been denied VA benefits for conditions related to Camp Lejeune contamination, may still file a claim under the act. Veterans can appeal the decision using the VAs’ appeals process if their claim is denied.
One potential stumbling block for veterans filing claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is the requirement that they are diagnosed with one of the 15 VA-recognized conditions associated with exposure to contaminated water. This can be a difficult requirement for veterans exposed to contaminated water but have not yet been diagnosed with one of the recognized conditions. In these cases, veterans may be eligible for benefits under the VA’s Presumptive Service Connection program, which allows veterans to receive benefits for certain conditions if they can demonstrate that they were exposed to a toxic substance and that their condition is consistent with the toxic substances known effects.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim
Finally, filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) is an important step for veterans who were stationed at the North Carolina Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. Qualified applicants would have been at the camp sometime from 1957 to 1987 and were diagnosed with one of the 15 conditions recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as being associated with exposure to contaminated water. All the steps are important including acquiring all required documentation, such as military service and medical records, before filing a claim with the VA. The VA will investigate the claim and decide whether the veteran is eligible for compensation and medical care under the CLJA. Veterans who face difficulties with their claims, such as being denied benefits, can always appeal the decision through the VA’s appeals process. Working with an attorney can also be advantageous for veterans because they have experience and expertise navigating the complex VA claims process. When filing a claim under the CLJA, an attorney can help veterans increase their chances of success.
Reasons Why Veterans Should Use an Attorney to File their CLJA Claim
Filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) may be a complicated and time-consuming procedure for veterans. They must have the proper representation to ensure their claim is handled correctly. An attorney may aid veterans during the claims process by advising them through the legal requirements, assisting them in gathering and presenting essential documents, as well as representing them during the appeals process if the claim is refused. Below are various reasons why veterans should consult with an attorney before making a CLJA claim:
- Experience and skill: Veterans’ benefits attorneys have extensive experience and expertise in navigating the complicated VA claims procedure. They are familiar with the CLJA’s unique standards and regulations and can advise on obtaining and submitting the required evidence to support a claim.
- Appeals assistance: If a veteran’s CLJA claim is refused, an attorney can help with the appeals procedure. They can review the rejection judgment, point out any mistakes or contradictions, as well as give proof to support the veteran’s claim.
- Medical evidence assistance: An attorney can assist veterans in gathering and presenting medical evidence to support their claims. They can collaborate with the veteran’s doctor to ensure that the medical evidence is thorough and correct and communicate the medical evidence to the VA in an understandable manner.
- Hearing representation: If a veteran’s claim is refused and requests a hearing, an attorney can represent them during the hearing. They can present facts, interrogate witnesses and argue on behalf of the veteran.
- Access to expert witnesses: Veterans’ benefits attorneys may have access to expert witnesses who can provide extra evidence to support the veteran’s claim. Medical professionals, toxicologists and epidemiologists with a specialist understanding of the problems connected with polluted water may be among these experts.
- Saving time & energy: Filing a claim under the CLJA can be a time-consuming and complex process. A knowledgeable Veterans Attorney can help these individuals navigate the process and focus on their recovery while handling all the paperwork.
Working with an attorney to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act can benefit veterans in a variety of ways. An attorney may assist veterans in gathering and presenting required paperwork, understanding the legal requirements for a CLJA claim, navigating the VA’s claims procedure, and providing legal counsel throughout the claims and appeals process. Veterans who are considering submitting a CLJA claim should consult with an attorney to ensure that their claim is handled properly and that they obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.
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