Camp Lejeune is a United States military training facility located near Jacksonville, North Carolina on the Atlantic Coast. You may have heard it mentioned recently in the news thanks to the PACT Act just passed by Congress. This bill is designed to pay benefits to civilians, military service members and their families who lived on this base during a time when its water was contaminated. Three water treatment facilities at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were shown to be contaminated with VOCs prior to 1988.
Sadly, many kids and babies died as a result of this toxic exposure. Their parents can file wrongful death suits, even if neither parent served in the military. Some children exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune grew to adulthood and are suffering today from cancer or other health problems. Due to this contamination and suffering, anyone who lived or worked on this base for more than 30 days before 1988 is now eligible to receive compensation from the federal government.
Question: Who is eligible to receive payment from the federal government via the PACT Act?
Answer: Anyone who lived, worked, or was in utero on the base for more than 30 days prior to the start of 1988. People can also file wrongful death suits on behalf of deceased loved ones, no matter what year they died.
The new law provides funding for payments through fiscal year 2024. It is very important to understand that you do not need to have served in the military to receive compensation. Anyone aged 34-52 today was either a child, a baby, or not born yet when the exposure happened.
Am I Eligible to Collect a Federal PACT Act Payment?
If you lived at Camp Lejeune before 1988 because your parents or caregivers were contractors, vendors, family members of enlisted service members, or civilians that lived worked on or near the base (teachers, spouses, etc.), you may be eligible to receive payment.
This bears repeating: If you lived at Camp Lejeune prior to January 1, 1988 for more than 30 days, you are likely eligible to receive a payment. It does not matter if you served in the military yourself. Here are some examples of people who can file:
- You have health issues today because your mother was pregnant with you while living there.
- You worked on the base in a civilian role, but were not active military or in service during your 30+ day stay.
- Your spouse or parent worked on the base as civilians, but were not active military or in service during your 30+ day stay.
- You were a child at the time and your parents either worked or served at Camp Lejeune in the 1960s, 70s, or 80s.
What Happened to Civilians, Military Service Members and Children Exposed to VOCs in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
If you are wondering if your own health issues – or those of a loved one – mirror those of other people who were exposed to toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune, it might be helpful to watch videos of the people who are sharing their experiences publicly. Many suffered from different forms of cancer themselves, or watched their loved one die from the disease.
Camp Lejeune’s Poisoned Water Linked to Several Life-Threatening Health Problems
Here is a partial list of serious health problems linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination exposure:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (i.e., Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Aplastic anemia
- Crohn’s disease
- Dental issues
- Heart disease
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Parkinson’s disease
- Birth defects including fetal death, low birth weight, major congenital malformations, miscarriage, neural tube defects, and oral cleft defects
- Multiple types of cancer including:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans, In addition, in some cases, civilians exposed to toxic substances can also collect a cash settlement. Perhaps the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history, the law helps the agency provide victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination with the care and benefits they deserve.
You can call 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711) with your questions or file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation.
Impacted Civilians and Military Veterans Can Talk to an Expert Advocate for Free
If you or a loved one spent 30 days or longer at Camp Lejeune before December 31, 1987, you may qualify for financial compensation. You still qualify even if you were never in the military as an active duty service member.
Due to the recent passage of the PACT Act in Congress, affected civilians, military service members and children have two years to file. Complete the form at the link above to see if you may qualify – and to hear from an expert who can help. Act soon to get a cash settlement for your life-threatening injuries or for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.