Neurobehavioral effects caused by exposure to polluted water at U.S. Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina refer to conditions that impair your nervous system or affect your behavior. As a whole, neurobehavioral effects are covered by the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, which allows you collect financial compensation for healthcare associated with conditions caused by toxic exposure at the camp.
The main toxic chemicals, also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), found at Camp Lejeune were trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. These were only a few of dozens and dozens of chemicals that leaked into the water supply from the area’s two water treatment plants. Given the prevalence of these chemicals in the water supply, service members and their family members who were stationed there were put at a heightened risk of several serious medical conditions.
Eligible veterans and their family members who struggle with neurobehavioral effects linked to exposure to these (VOCs) must first establish a diagnosis and then file a claim for healthcare compensation from VA to cover your costs. Currently, VA does not offer monthly disability compensation for neurobehavioral effects, though some conditions with similar symptoms like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia can qualify for monthly benefits.
Testing and Diagnosing Neurobehavioral Effects
Identifying and diagnosing neurobehavioral effects can be a complicated process, and requires extensive testing from qualified specialists to determine your neurological deficits, as well as the source of these deficits. Your condition may be the result of genetics or toxic exposure, or a combination of both. Of the many tests available for use, there are three main ones that have proved influential and continue to be used today.
- WHO Neurobehavioral Core Test Battery (WHO-NCTB): first proposed in 1983 and designed by World Health Organization (WHO) to test the widest range of functions and specifically designed to look for behavioral effects caused by toxic exposure
- Neurobehavioral Evaluation System (NES): uses computer-based testing to investigate adverse behavioral effects to workplace toxic exposure in the 1990s
- Adult Environmental Neurobehavioral Test Battery (AENTB): built upon the NCTB and NES with more sensitive tests to detect neurobehavioral deficits caused by toxic exposure in your environment
The symptoms of neurobehavioral effects can be wide ranging, and loosely grouped into three categories. Cognitive symptoms include poor memory, confusion, learning impairments, and the onset of dementia. Neuropsychiatric symptoms include difficulty concentrating, mood changes, depression, PTSD, suicidal ideation, and insomnia. Headaches, tension, poor motor function or visiomotor coordination, sensory disturbances, poor reaction time, muscle weakness, tremors, involuntary movements, or changes to your walking gait may also be symptomatic of a neurobehavioral condition.
VA Healthcare Benefits for Conditions Linked to Camp Lejeune Toxic Exposure
Service members and their family members, including children who were in utero, who were at Camp Lejeune or the nearby Marine Corp Air Station (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 toxins in their water supply.
The Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 places neurobehavioral effects on a list of conditions that have been linked to this toxic exposure, and for which veterans may apply for cost-free healthcare from VA. Neurobehavioral effects do NOT, however, belong on the list of presumptive conditions associated with Camp Lejeune toxic exposure. That means if you wish to pursue a service connection and disability benefits from VA for your condition, you must do so according to the regular VA disability claims process.
The full list of conditions for which VA will cover out of pocket healthcare expenses, and SOME of which VA will consider for presumptive service connection, include:
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer (presumptive)
- Multiple myeloma (presumptive)
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (presumptive)
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer (presumptive)
- Leukemia (presumptive)
- Myelodysplastic syndromes (presumptive)
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
Another way for you to pursue financial compensation for your exposure to toxins at Camp Lejeune is through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which was part of the Honoring Out PACT Act, an influential package of laws that focused mostly on improving care and compensation for service members affected by toxic exposure.
This law allows you to file suit against the United State government for appropriate relief against harm caused by toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune. Importantly, financial renumeration is not limited to healthcare costs, but takes into account the complete effect of the exposure to your life and livelihood. Eligibility is opened up to civilians as well as service members and their family members. Anyone who may have been affected by Camp Lejeune toxic exposure may file suit.
VA assures veterans that filing suit will in no way affect VA disability compensation or other financial compensation. One important caveat is that, should you win suit against the government, your financial reward may take into account any compensation you have previously or are currently receiving from VA.
Assistance With Your Claim
Once you have established a diagnosis of a neurobehavioral conditions caused by toxic exposure, you have a couple legal paths at your disposal to pursue financial compensation. Should you need assistance building a claim for healthcare costs associated with neurobehavioral effects from Camp Lejeune toxic exposure, you can consult with us immediately to review your case. And if you are suffering from a condition that would be significantly alleviated by VA monthly disability compensation, we are available to build your case for a first claim or take on your appeal to ensure that you get the relief that you deserve.
For assistance with your claim or appeal for 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.