The VA is urging former service members who have illnesses they believe are linked to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to continue to seek out any potential benefits they fell they may be entitled. As of the end of January 2023, VA reported receiving 102,265 disability claims related to exposure at the Marine Corps Base since it began tracking these types of submissions over a decade ago.
However, these claims are being complicated by the PACT Act, which allows Veterans to file lawsuits in civilian courts regarding Camp Lejeune contamination but requires that any legal compensation awarded in civilian courts be “offset” by disability claims related to Camp Lejeune exposure that the Veteran is already receiving. These instructions apply to any program administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Medicare or Medicaid according to the provision. Regardless of this caveat, however, VA officials urge Veterans to move forward with their disability claims.
Camp Lejeune-related disability claims are distinct from the more than 213,000 submissions received by the VA thus far related to the broader PACT Act. While the PACT Act does not affect Camp Lejeune disability claims, it does provide an option for legal recourse — outside the VA’s jurisdiction — to Veterans and their families who spent time at the base. Under the PACT Act, if a Veteran is already receiving VA benefits related to Camp Lejeune, then the court award “will be offset by the amount of any disability award.” VA wants Veterans to be aware of this provision, but advise they do not want this to dissuade Veterans from filing their claims with the VA for disability benefits.
If you have any questions about VA benefits or the impact the PACT Act may have on your benefits, the qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys at Gardberg and Kemmerly want to help in any way possible. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call our office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama. We would love an opportunity to discuss your claim.