19. March 2013: The globe and anchor stand at the entrance to Camp Lejeune, N. C.
(AP Photo/Allen breed, file)
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has agreed that the disability benefits in a total amount of more than $2 billion for veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water, while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The decision was quiet to the public Thursday with a notice in the Federal Register, the government’s official journal.
At the beginning of March, the disbursements from the Department of Veterans Affairs VA health care Supplement already available to eligible veterans stationed at the naval base for at least 30 days cumulative between Aug. 1, 1953, Dec. 31, 1987. The veterans have the proof of your diagnosis and service information.
Outgoing VA Secretary Bob McDonald noted that there was “sufficient scientific and medical evidence” of a connection between exposure to the contaminated water, and eight medical conditions for the purposes of awarding disability compensation.
The estimated taxpayer cost of some $2.2 billion over a period of five years. The VA estimates that more than 900,000 people-service members were potentially exposed to the tainted water.
“This is good news,” said retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, whose daughter Janey was born in the year 1976, while he was stationed at Lejeune. Janey died of leukemia at the age of 9 years. Ensminger is now in charge of a veterans group, The Few, the Proud, The Forgotten, the advocates for those who have a disability compensation.
“It was a hard, long slog,” said Ensminger, who thinks the government needs to go further in coverage of additional diseases. “This is not the end of the problem.”
The new scheme includes active duty, Reserve and National Guard members, develops, one of the eight diseases: adults-leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.
Documents that do not propose the veterans ‘ groups over the years, Marine leaders were slow to respond, when the first tests found evidence of contaminated ground water at Camp Lejeune in the early 1980s. Some drinking water wells in 1984 and 1985 were closed, after further Tests, contamination from leaking tanks and an off-base confirms-dry-cleaners. The Marine Corps, said that the impurity is not intended, which occurs when Federal rights limit toxins in drinking water.
Spurred adopted by Ensminger case, the Congress, in the year of 2012, a draft law, the extension of free VA medical care signed into law by President Barack Obama, the affected veterans and their families. But the veterans were not automatically available, disability, or survivor’s pension. The topic was prompted by the complaints of the veterans organizations, they note that the military drinking in the Camp Lejeune case”, cooked, and bathed” in contaminated water for years.
“Expanded coverage is making progress, but we also need to know whether the government will leave people intentionally,” said Rick Weidman, executive director of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Affected veterans, the Lejeune were stationed in the Camp, now requests for the services, once the rule is officially published on Friday. Approximately 1,400 disability claims in relation to Lejeune are already in progress and will be promptly reviewed according to the VA.