Veterans Ask VA for Information on Camp Lejeune Disability Claims
Jan 18, 2016
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 18, 2016 – The approval rate for disability claims arising from Camp Lejeune-related illnesses has fallen by two-thirds since the Department of Veterans Affairs introduced a third-party process to review veterans’ medical files.
Veterans advocacy groups have filed a Freedom of Information request for details about the identities and qualifications of the experts in the VA program. “Veterans could benefit from greater transparency on the VA’s part. The agency should make public basic information about its personnel and the process they use to evaluate claims,” said David Magann, a Florida-based veterans attorney.
Almost a million veterans, their families and civilians may have been exposed to toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from the mid-1950s until the 1980s. The groundwater at the Marine Corps training base was contaminated with cancer-causing industrial solvents and other harmful chemicals.
According to federal data, Florida is home to thousands of potential victims, the second-highest number in the country. VA officials and federal scientists studying the health effects of Camp Lejeune’s polluted water participated in a town hall meeting in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Dec. 5. Veterans affected by the water complained about difficulties in getting the agency to provide disability benefits.
The VA has tasked an unidentified group of Camp Lejeune subject matter experts with reviewing the medical documents of veterans who are seeking disability compensation for exposure-related illnesses. The experts supply a medical opinion on whether the illness is related to the contaminated water. The veteran does not meet with the expert nor get to view the expert opinion.
Claims approvals have declined from 25 percent to 8 percent since the program’s introduction in 2012, raising questions about the training and autonomy of the VA’s experts. The experts were accused of providing opinions that were outdated, based on incorrect science and that failed to pay attention to the evidence veterans submit to get benefits. Veterans’ advocates claimed the VA placed too much importance on the experts’ opinions. However, VA officials argued their medical opinions are only “one piece among many of evidence” that are included when deciding a claim.
“The experts are contributing to making decisions that significantly impact the lives of veterans. Veterans are entitled to know why their claims were denied, who contributed to the decision and what documents and policies were used to decide,” said Magann
Learn more at http://www.tampaveteranslawyer.com/
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
- PTSD, "Post" Means After And At Any Time
Government analysis finds Veterans with PTSD can suffer for decades before acknowledging the disorder. The year 2014 marks the 100th-year anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the so-called war to end all wars. And in a bit of irony, a study was released on August 8 that has found that, like the consequences of the “Great War,” the after-effects of combat stress among veterans, just like the after-effects of old wars upon conflicts years later, seems to linger for decades. The study, which was commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs, tracked veterans from as far back as the Vietnam […]
- Attorney Fees in VA Compensation are Contingent Upon You Winning
Attorney fees in VA Compensation claims are contingent upon winning benefits. The VA’s General Counsel office and regional offices must approve of all fee agreements, which allows 20% of the veteran’s BACK benefits, not future benefits, to be withheld to pay the representative. The attorney does not collect the fee directly from the veteran, but reasonable costs may be collected directly from the veteran claimant. By law, an individual must be accredited by VA as an agent, attorney, or representative of a VA-recognized veterans service organization to assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of a claim for VA benefits. […]
- Camp Lejeune Tainted Water Claim? New Rules You Can Use: Justice Delayed
For decades there has been medical complications statistically abnormal for those who were based in Camp Lejeune. Recently there has been considerable media and Congressional attention to the past contamination of the water supply at Camp Lejeune. From 1953 to 1987, the water supply was contaminated with TCE, PCE, benzene, vinyl chloride and “other compounds.” see https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/Site/background_information.html. Because of legislation passed in 2012, the VA now recognizes the medical problems caused by the Camp LeJeune water contamination. There are two areas that a Veteran may be awarded benefits listed below: (1) VA health care benefits may be available. These are […]