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Camp Lejeune: Past Water Contamination

Julian C. Smith Hall at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Julian C. Smith Hall, Camp Lejeune
U.S. Marine Corps

From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals.

Learn about research on past chemical contamination.

Health benefits and eligibility

You may be eligible for VA health benefits if you served on active duty (Veterans) or resided (family members) at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987:

  • Veterans who are determined to be eligible will be able to receive VA health care. In addition, care for qualifying health conditions is provided at no cost to the Veteran (including copayments).
  • Eligible family members receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred from the treatment of qualifying health conditions after all other health insurance is applied.

Qualifying health conditions include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects

A Camp Lejeune Veteran does not need to have one of the 15 health conditions to be eligible to receive VA health care, nor do they need a service connected disability to be eligible as a Camp Lejeune Veteran for VA health care.

Veteran health care

If you're already enrolled in VA health care, contact your local VA health care facility to receive care.

Not yet enrolled? Apply online or call 1-877-222-8387 for help. Inform VA staff that you served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during the covered time period.

Family member health care reimbursement

VA is reimbursing family members for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the 15 covered conditions. We can only pay for treatment after you have received payment from all your other health plans.

Apply online for reimbursement or call 1-866-372-1144 for help.

VA will attempt to obtain all relevant evidence available for you within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the Department of Defense (DoD). Please note: VA will still review your application if you do not send evidence, but it may take longer to process while we confirm information with other agencies.

What type of evidence can I submit with my application?

  • Documentation showing dependent relationship to a Veteran who served at Camp Lejeune, such as marriage license or birth certificate
  • Documentation showing you lived on the base for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987, such as copies of orders or base housing records
  • You paid health care expenses for a covered condition respective to the following date ranges.
    • If you lived on Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987 then you can be reimbursed for care that you received on or after August 6, 2012
    • If you lived on Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1956 then you can be reimbursed for care that you received on or after December 16, 2014

You will be able to continue to receive health care from your providers. VA won't be providing you direct health care.

Don't cancel your health insurance. This program only covers the 15 health conditions listed above. It doesn't meet the minimum standard for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Camp Lejeune legislation

Read the law signed Aug. 6, 2012 (216 KB, PDF). VA published regulations for Veteran health care and interim final regulations for family member care Sept. 24, 2014. On December 14, 2014, the Camp Lejeune Law (1.47 MB, PDF) was amended in the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015” to extend the eligibility period back to August 1, 1953.

The Health and Medicine Division (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its report, Review of VA Clinical Guidance for the Health Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejeune Legislation, March 11, 2015. VA has assembled a group of clinical and other subject matter experts to review and revise the clinical guidelines.

Compensation benefits

The Aug. 6, 2012 law applies to health care, not disability compensation. A Veterans acceptance into the Camp Lejeune Healthcare Program does not necessarily qualify a Veteran for a service connected disability, or any related compensation.

Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis.

The Secretary announced proposed presumptions of service connection for certain conditions associated with exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune on Dec. 17, 2015. When finalized, the proposed rule would expand benefits eligibility to Veterans and members of the Reserves and National Guard who were assigned to Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987. Read the press release.

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