VA Benefits for Breast Cancer Caused by Camp Lejeune Toxic Exposure

VA Benefits for Breast Cancer Caused by Camp Lejeune Toxic Exposure

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the United States for women, outside of skin cancers, with about 13% developing it in their lifetime. It’s also not limited to women, with about 0.5-1% of all cases worldwide affecting men. Risk factors include increased age, obesity, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, family history, reproductive history, radiation exposure, and postmenopausal hormone therapy.

Breast cancer is also one of many serious health conditions that has been linked to toxic chemical exposure experienced by Marines and their family members at Camp Lejeune. From the mid-1950s through the mid-1980s, the water supply at Camp Lejeune and neighboring Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) New River was severely contaminated with several chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride.

Now, eligible veterans, family members, and many others who worked in the area around Camp Lejeune can apply for financial compensation from the US government, or receive VA benefits to assist with healthcare costs. One of the biggest pieces of legislation to help those harmed is the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, which provides financial assistance to veterans and family members for healthcare costs, and also establishes presumptive service connections for certain medical conditions. Presumptive service connection refers to VA’s assumption that a veteran’s military service caused or exacerbated a veteran’s medical condition(s), which removes the necessity of a veteran to prove a medical nexus linking their diagnoses with an in-service event, injury, or illness.

Financial Compensation for Breast Cancer Linked to Camp Lejeune

Breast cancer

Eligibility for healthcare financial assistance linked to Camp Lejeune extends to veterans and their family members, including children who were in utero, who were at Camp Lejeune or MCAS – New River for a period of no fewer than 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals in their water supply.

According to Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, breast cancer joins the list of conditions linked to toxic exposure, making it eligible for cost-free healthcare. The full list of conditions for which VA will cover out of pocket healthcare expenses, and some of which VA qualifies for presumptive service connection, include:

  • 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

Section 804 of the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, establishes a law referred as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which creates a way for people who lived at Camp Lejeune “to file for appropriate relief for harm caused by exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune,” allowing veterans, family members, and nearby residents of the area to seek financial relief for harm done to their health, quality of living, and earning potential, without affecting compensation for toxic exposure sought through other means.

Service Connection and VA Disability Benefits for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is not considered a presumptive condition caused by Camp Lejeune toxic exposure, so if you are a veteran with breast cancer seeking VA monthly disability compensation, you must file a claim with VA that includes a medical nexus linking your current diagnosis to your service history. You may still be eligible to collect VA disability, but the burden is placed on you to provide evidence that your military service caused or contributed to your condition.

This isn’t necessarily the case for all diagnoses of breast cancer. The Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 added breast cancer to a list of female reproductive cancers that are considered presumptive if you were exposed to burn pits during the Gulf War or in the post-9/11 period. But again, such a presumption is not granted to Camp Lejeune veterans.

If you do pursue VA disability compensation for breast cancer, VA rates compensation for all cancers according to the stage of treatment. Veterans are granted a 100% disability rating while undergoing treatment, and for a 6-month period following your final treatment, after which your condition is assessed and your rating adjusted in increments of 10% based on the residual effects of your cancer. If and when your cancer goes into remission, your disability rating will drop to 0%.

Assistance With Your Claim

Breast cancer is a common diagnosis, and despite positive outcomes in the majority of cases that are caught early, it can cause plenty of stress and pain. If you believe your breast cancer was caused by toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune, or from burn pits or any other instance from your time in the military, we’re here to help your claim or appeal succeed. For assistance with seeking financial compensation or VA disability benefits related to Camp Lejeune toxic exposure, contact VA Disability Group PLLC at 844-VET-LAWS or write to us online today.