Beyond VA Benefits: Exploring The Camp Lejeune Justice Act

VA Benefits

Imagine serving your country, then facing an invisible enemy at home.

That is what happened to thousands at Camp Lejeune (1953-1987). Contaminated drinking water exposed veterans and their families to toxins linked to serious health issues. Since the onset of 2012, Veteran Affairs has been offering help, but many veterans are still struggling.

There’s hope. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) is a game-changer. It lets veterans fight for compensation beyond VA benefits. Through this blog, we will dive deep into the CLJA, exploring how it can empower veterans to get the support they deserve.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA)

Camp Lejeune Justice Act

Brought to power in August 2022, the act stands as a powerful testament to the fight for veteran wellbeing. This law emerged in response to a long-concealed injustice: the contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base, from 1953 to 1987. 

This contamination exposed countless veterans and their families to harmful toxins, leading to a range of serious health issues. Earlier, the service people could not sue the government for its inaction under the Feres Doctrine. They had to rely on Veteran Affairs benefits for recovery and medical costs. 

Who Can File A Claim?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) isn’t limited to veterans stationed there full-time. It also offers a path to compensation for family members who lived on base during the contamination and now face health problems.

The legislation acknowledges the potential health consequences for individuals exposed in utero, recognizing the vulnerability of pregnant women and their unborn children. 

Furthermore, the CLJA offers a measure of recourse for families who have tragically lost a loved one due to a Camp Lejeune-related health condition. In such cases, the attorney representing the deceased veteran can file a wrongful death claim.  

This inclusion demonstrates the act’s comprehensive approach to addressing the full scope of harm inflicted by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Key Differences Between CLJA and VA Benefits

Understanding the distinct pathways to compensation offered by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is crucial. 

While both programs aim to support veterans, they differ in how they assess eligibility and the type of compensation awarded. Let’s delve into these key differences to empower you to make informed decisions.

Burden of Proof: Proving Your Case

The VA requires establishing a service connection, meaning a direct link between your current health condition and your military service. This procedure can often be intricate, necessitating thorough medical documentation.

The CLJA takes a different approach. Here, you need to prove two things:

  • Exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune during the specified timeframe (1953-1987) 
  • A diagnosed health condition linked to that exposure.

The Scope of Compensation: Beyond Medical Care

VA benefits primarily focus on disability compensation and healthcare services. While these are essential forms of support, they may not fully address the financial burdens associated with a serious illness. 

The CLJA, however, offers monetary compensation. This can include compensation for pain, suffering, and lost wages due to illness. It also covers non-economic damages like depression and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

The Claim Process: Different Routes to Resolution

Filing for VA benefits typically involves navigating the VA claims system, which can be time-consuming and bureaucratic. The CLJA, on the other hand, requires filing a lawsuit in federal court. 

The legal process to claim Camp Lejeune compensation can be complex. It may necessitate seeking legal representation from an attorney specializing in veterans’ rights.

However, this compensation will not affect your existing VA benefits.

By understanding these key distinctions between the CLJA and VA benefits, you can determine which path best suits your specific needs and desired outcomes. 

Reaping the Rewards: Advantages of a CLJA Claim

Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim

The Act offers a compelling path for veterans impacted by water contamination. Here’s why exploring a CLJA claim might be advantageous for you:

  • More Than Just Disability: While VA benefits offer valuable support, the CLJA can potentially provide significantly higher compensation. This financial assistance can be a lifeline, helping veterans manage medical bills and lost wages due to illness.
  • Beyond Service Connection: Veterans with health conditions not currently recognized by the VA for service connection might find solace in the CLJA. Here, the focus is on proof of exposure and a diagnosed health condition, offering a more direct route to compensation.
  • Holding Accountable: Filing a CLJA claim serves not only as a means of securing compensation but also as a way to hold the government accountable for the blatant neglect. This legal action signifies a fight for justice and recognizes the harm inflicted upon veterans and their families.

Taking Action: The Path to a CLJA Claim

Exploring the CLJA as a potential avenue for compensation requires informed action. Here’s a roadmap to get you started:

  • Seek Guidance: Veterans service organizations and legal aid groups specializing in veterans’ issues are valuable resources. They can provide initial guidance on eligibility and answer your questions about the CLJA process.
  • Legal Expertise Matters: According to TorHoerman Law, given the complexities of a lawsuit, seeking legal counsel from a qualified attorney specializing in veterans’ claims is crucial. 

Your lawyer possesses the expertise to guide you through legal procedures, safeguard your rights, and pursue the compensation rightfully owed to you.

  • Time is of the Essence: Make sure to submit your CLJA claim by August 2024. Consulting with an attorney can help track the deadline.

To conclude, justice begins with action. Explore the CLJA’s potential to secure the compensation you deserve. Numerous resources exist to support you. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance and explore your options. Take charge of your well-being.

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Shahnawaz Alam

Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.