Federal VA decision will affect local veterans, surviving spouses

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Veterans Affairs Exteriors

Exteriors of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has established a presumptive service connection for veterans suffering from specific disabilities resulting from the consumption of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from Aug. 1, 1953, through Dec. 31, 1987. York County has a large population of United States Marine Corps veterans who served there during this period.
Eight diseases are considered related to service if a veteran served at Camp Lejeune during this time:
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Multiple myeloma
This decision means veterans and surviving spouses are eligible for financial compensation for these conditions. In addition to veterans with open claims or appeals, York County Veterans Affairs is looking for three other veterans groups to help with the compensation process to maximize their benefits:
  • Veterans who have been denied claims for these conditions
  • Veterans who have a diagnosis for these conditions but have never filed claims
  • Surviving spouses of veterans who have died from one of these conditions or one of these conditions was a contributing factor in the death
The latter group – surviving spouses – are the most difficult to reach. Surviving spouses of veterans who have died a service-connected death may receive benefits for life, but they often are out of the loop regarding VA benefits. Because of the VA’s history of denying the claims, many veterans never filed one.
Service officers can interview and process claims from our office. Contact the York County Department of Veterans Affairs at yorkvet@yorkcountypa.gov or 717-771-9218.
SOURCE: Department of Veteran’s Affairs