Important changes to veterans health benefits were proposed near the end of 2015. Our veterans disability attorneys review a few important facts about health benefits, disability claims, and what the proposed changes mean for the military community in North Carolina:
- Eligibility linked with Camp Lejeune. Water contamination at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is speculated to reach as far back as the 1950s. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), individuals and their families might be eligible for VA health benefits if they served or lived at Camp Lejeune for "30 days or more between between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987."
- You have the right to file an appeal if your claim is denied. Denied applicants can file a Notice of Disagreement, but this must be done within one year of the denial.
- Disability approvals decreasing. The Military Times reported in December 2015 that disability claim approvals filed with the VA dropped for illness claims made with a connection to poisonous drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Approvals dropped by approximately two-thirds after a third-party review process was implemented. "Subject matter experts" currently review the claims and decide whether or not approval will be granted.
- Eligible health conditions. A number of health conditions are covered by veterans benefits for eligible persons. Some of these conditions include certain cancers (lung, bladder, breast, and more), miscarriages and infertility, leukemia, and several others. Some of the health conditions that the VA recognizes may be expanded under a proposal presented at the turn of 2015-2016. Individuals may have previously been denied for coverage and can now re-apply for reimbursement. Officials forecast a possible year delay in paying out benefits to qualified persons as writing the new rules will take an undetermined amount of time.
- Disability applications are substantial. In the same Military Times article as noted above, figures show that more than 10,000 disability applications have been filed citing illnesses related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Each disability case is evaluated individually.
Keep in mind, separate regulations apply to veterans disability compensation and VA health benefits. A North Carolina veterans disability attorney can help identify appropriate options depending on the circumstances of the individual's illness.