Camp Lejeune Scleroderma VA Healthcare Benefits

Camp Lejeune Scleroderma VA Healthcare Benefits

Scleroderma VA Healthcare Benefits
Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is a chromic autoimmune disease that causes a hardening and tightening of skin, and may affect blood vessels and internal organs as well. People with scleroderma often first notice symptoms occurring in the fingers, hands, feet, and face, which may include swelling, itchiness, and red spots called telangiectasia.

Raynaud’s phenomenon may occur, too, in which contracted blood vessels cause digits to turn white, blue, or red, and may come with pain or numbness. Digestive problems can also occur, including heartburn, difficulty swallowing, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and incontinence. Scleroderma may also cause hypertension in your heart and scarring in your lungs that leads to shortness of breath.

Toxic Exposure at Camp Lejeune

Scleroderma is one of many conditions that have been associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in drinking water at U.S. Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, North Carolina. Toxins like trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride were either improperly stored or disposed of on or nearby the base.

A number of conditions are part of the Camp Lejeune presumptive conditions list, which means veterans do not need to provide a medical nexus linking their diagnosis for certain conditions to their military service record, as long as they can prove they served for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and that they did not receive a dishonorable discharge. Veterans suffering from presumptive conditions are eligible for monthly disability compensation.

Healthcare Benefits for Camp Lejeune Scleroderma

Scleroderma is not considered a presumptive condition, but it is on a list of conditions for which veterans and their family members who were present at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River can receive financial assistance for medical treatment. Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, you may apply for cost-free healthcare from VA regarding any of these conditions.

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer (presumptive)
  • Multiple myeloma (presumptive)
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (presumptive)
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer (presumptive)
  • Leukemia (presumptive)
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes (presumptive)
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects

Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Section 804 of the Honoring Our PACT Act, also known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, stipulates that you may file lawsuits for “appropriate relief for harm caused by exposure to contaminated water” in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

VA assures veterans that filing a lawsuit will in no way affect the amount of veterans’ disability compensation, or your eligibility in the future. However, a veteran’s disability compensation may affect the award given to you as the result of a successful lawsuit.

VA Disability Compensation

VA does not have a diagnostic code for scleroderma in the Federal Register, meaning you cannot file a claim for compensation based specifically on scleroderma. Instead, you can file claims based on conditions caused by the symptoms of your scleroderma, such as skin conditions and heart and lung problems. This is entirely dependent upon the form your scleroderma takes, and if its symptoms mimic another condition for which VA has a diagnostic code.

Assistance With Your Claim

Scleroderma can cause much pain and frustration, and since it does not have a diagnostic code, it can seem daunting to look for compensation. However, with recent laws and other diagnostic codes to look for, it’s possible to get some form of compensation from VA.

For assistance with your claim or appeal for VA disability benefits, or a lawsuit for any other condition related to Camp Lejeune toxic exposure, contact VA Disability Group PLLC at 844-VET-LAWS or write to us online.