What Are Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions?

Updated: Oct 20





If you served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987, you might be eligible to receive VA health benefits, as might your loved ones who lived there with you.


Veterans who meet certain criteria are supposed to receive VA health care, as well as care for qualifying health conditions, at no cost to them. Also, their eligible family members are entitled to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket medical expenses for treatment of qualifying health conditions after all other health insurance is applied (see source). Yet, some veterans experience delays and frustrations trying to access these benefits.


This blog entry provides information about VA presumptive conditions, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, and how an experienced Camp Lejeune lawyer can assist you with understanding both. Q&As include:


  1. What conditions qualify as “presumptive” for VA Medical Care?

  2. Can the VA deny benefits for a presumptive condition?

  3. What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

  4. What is a VA disability rating?

  5. What is bladder cancer?

  6. What is breast cancer?

  7. What is esophageal cancer?

  8. What is female infertility?

  9. What is hepatic steatosis?

  10. What is kidney cancer?

  11. What is leukemia?

  12. What is lung cancer?

  13. What is miscarriage?

  14. What is multiple myeloma?

  15. What are myelodysplastic syndromes?

  16. What are neurobehavioral effects?

  17. What is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

  18. What is renal toxicity?

  19. What is scleroderma?

  20. What is aplastic anemia?

  21. What is liver cancer?

  22. What is Parkinson’s disease?

  23. What does it cost to hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?


1. What conditions qualify as “presumptive” for VA Medical Care?


The VA announced the following conditions to be presumptive for Camp Lejeune veterans, each of which is briefly described below (see Qs 5 thru 12):

  • Bladder cancer

  • Breast Cancer

  • Esophageal cancer

  • Female Infertility

  • Hepatic steatosis

  • Kidney cancer

  • Adult leukemia

  • Lung Cancer

  • Miscarriage

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

  • Neurobehavioral effects

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

  • Renal toxicity

  • Scleroderma

  • Aplastic anemia

  • Liver cancer

  • Parkinson’s disease


2. Can the VA deny benefits for a presumptive condition?


In a word, no. You are eligible for benefits if you have one of the specific illnesses listed as a presumptive condition by the VA and you served in an area with exposure to certain toxins (e.g. Camp Lejeune water contamination) (see source).


To be eligible for a presumptive service connection, a veteran must have served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and later developed one of the presumptive conditions.


You are entitled to benefits even if a presumptive condition appeared after your service time ended, with these caveats:


  • Symptoms must appear within one year of your active duty release for many of these presumptive conditions,

  • You must have 90 days of service time

  • You must have a VA disability rating of at least ten percent (see Q. 4)


Be mindful, however, that outside of presumptive conditions, the VA has strict rules that limit benefits to service-related conditions. The VA will deny your claim if you cannot prove a clear in‑service connection.


In sum, if the VA denies what you believe to be a presumptive condition for whatever reason, or if your illness falls outside the realm of presumptive conditions, you should familiarize yourself with the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (see Q.3), and seek the assistance of a Camp Lejeune attorney.


3. What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?


President Biden signed legislation in August 2022 that includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. It empowers veterans, their on-base families, and civilians working at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1985 to file civil lawsuits against the government for injuries caused by Camp Lejeune's polluted water.


To ensure that you receive the full benefits available to you through this Act, you should retain the services of an experienced Camp Lejeune attorney.


4. What is a VA disability rating?


The VA assigns veterans a so-called “VA disability rating” based on the severity of his or her service‑connected condition. This percentage figure is used to determine how much disability compensation a veteran will receive per month, as well as his or her eligibility for other VA benefits.


If a veteran has more than one disability rating, the VA uses them to calculate a “combined VA disability rating.” But calculating a veteran’s combined disability rating involves more than simply totaling up individual ratings, so one’s combined rating might differ from the arithmetic sum of his or her individual ratings (see source).


Again, if you disagree with either your “disability rating” or “combined VA disability rating,” you should seek the help of a Camp Lejeune lawyer.


5. What is bladder cancer?


This type of cancer occurs most frequently in the inner lining of one’s bladder and is caused by abnormal cellular growth. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is usually the first sign of this cancer and indicates that there is possibly a tumor inside the bladder that is bleeding. The bloody urine might occur on a regular basis or sporadically. The color is bright red, orange, or pink. Blood particles are sometimes microscopic and detected only by urinalysis (see source).


6. What is breast cancer?


This is a disease wherein a person’s breast cells grow out of control. A breast is composed of three parts, so what kind of breast cancer one has depends on which breast cells are involved. (1) Lobules are milk-producing glands. (2) Ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. (3) Connective tissues contain (1) and (2) and give form to the breast. Warning signs include (see source):

  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area

  • Pulling in of the nipple

  • Pain in the nipple or any area of the breast

  • Nipple discharge, especially blood

  • Lump in the breast or underarm

  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin

  • Change in breast size or shape

  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast


7. What is esophageal cancer?


This cancer occurs in the esophagus, the long tube running from the throat to the stomach so as to move swallowed food from the back of the throat to the stomach for digestion. In its earliest stages, this cancer typically has no signs or symptoms. Later stages are characterized by (see source):


  • Chest pain, pressure, or burning

  • Coughing or hoarseness

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

  • Weight loss without trying

  • Worsening indigestion or heartburn


8. What is female infertility?


This is the inability to get pregnant, probably because a woman is not ovulating. Symptoms are menstrual cycles longer than 35 days, less than 21 days, irregular, or absent altogether. There might not be other signs or symptoms (see source).


9. What is hepatic steatosis?


This diagnosis indicates one has extra fat in his or her liver. There are usually no symptoms except sometimes fatigue and/or pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. But hepatic steatosis can develop into nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is an aggressive form of fatty liver disease marked by liver inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis), symptoms of which are (see source):


  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)

  • Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin surface

  • Enlarged spleen

  • Red palms

  • Jaundice


10. What is kidney cancer?


This is cancer that begins in the kidneys, which cleanse the blood of toxins and transform the waste into urine. Some symptoms are (see source):

  • Confusion or trouble concentrating

  • Dry or itchy skin

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent bathroom trips

  • The metallic taste of food

  • Muscle spasms and cramps

  • Poor appetite

  • Swelling, especially around the hands or ankles

  • Upset stomach or vomiting


11. What is leukemia?


Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissues. It usually involves one’s white blood cells, which are the body’s infection fighters. Under normal circumstances, these cells grow and divide in an organized way. But with leukemia, one’s bone marrow produces an excessive amount of abnormal white blood cells, which do not function properly. Common symptoms are (see source):

  • Bone pain or tenderness

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Excessive sweating, especially at night

  • Fever or chills

  • Frequent or severe infections

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Persistent fatigue, weakness

  • Recurrent nosebleeds

  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen

  • Tiny red skin spots (petechiae)


12. What is lung cancer?


Lung cancer usually presents no signs or symptoms in its early stages. As it progresses, symptoms can include (see source):

  • Aches or pain when breathing or coughing

  • Chest infections that keep coming back

  • Cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks

  • Coughing up blood

  • Long-standing cough that gets worse

  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy

  • Persistent breathlessness


13. What is miscarriage?


Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of pregnancy prior to the 20th week. Many miscarriages occur extremely early in pregnancy before a woman might even know she is pregnant (see source).


14. What is multiple myeloma?


Multiple myeloma is cancer that forms in a person’s white blood cells—specifically in those called plasma cells, which help the body fight infections by generating antibodies to recognize and attack germs. In this disease, cancerous plasma cells accumulate and displace healthy ones. There are often no symptoms at first. Later, typical ones are (see source):

  • Spine or chest pain

  • Bone pain

  • Constipation

  • Excessive thirst

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent infections

  • Loss of appetite

  • Mental fogginess or confusion

  • Nausea

  • Weakness or numbness in the legs

  • Unintended weight loss


15. What are myelodysplastic syndromes?


These are a group of disorders that cause deficiencies in the bone marrow, resulting in poorly formed, malfunctioning blood cells (see source).


16. What are neurobehavioral effects?


This term refers to the way changes to a person’s brain and spinal cord, caused by toxic exposure, might affect his or her emotions, behavior, and/or learning. Symptoms can include:

  • Weakness

  • Tremors or involuntary movements

  • Tension

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Poor motor skills

  • Memory issues

  • Learning disorders

  • Lack of coordination

  • Headaches

  • Aggression

  • Anxiety

  • Attention difficulties or trouble concentrating

  • Confusion

  • Dementia

  • Depression

  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue


17. What is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?


Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, causing white blood cells to grow abnormally and create tumors throughout the body. Signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can include (see source):

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin

  • Abdominal pain or swelling

  • Chest pain, coughing, or trouble breathing

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Weight loss without trying


18. What is renal toxicity?


Also known as kidney failure, renal toxicity is a condition in which one or both kidneys can no longer function on their own. Treatments include dialysis and kidney transplant. Symptoms can be (see source):

  • Upset stomach or vomiting

  • Swelling, especially around the hands or ankles

  • Poor appetite

  • Muscle spasms and cramps

  • The metallic taste of food

  • Frequent bathroom trips

  • Fatigue

  • Dry or itchy skin

  • Confusion or trouble concentrating


19. What is scleroderma?


This is a disease of one’s autoimmune connective tissue that causes inflammation of the skin and other body areas. Scleroderma causes a person’s immune response tissues to act as if they were injured, causing one’s body to produce too much collagen, which is a protein necessary for healthy joints and skin elasticity. Symptoms can include (see source):


  • Patches of firm, oval-shaped, thick skin, which might have a waxy yellow appearance and bruise-like edge

  • Fatigue (sometimes)

  • Lines of thick or other-colored skin on the arm, leg, and (rarely) the forehead


20. What is aplastic anemia?


Aplastic anemia is a serious blood condition in which one’s bone marrow cannot produce enough new blood cells for the body to function normally. Symptoms include fatigue, long-lasting infections, and easy bruising or bleeding.


21. What is liver cancer?


This cancer begins in the cells of the liver, the purpose of which is to clean toxins from the blood; remove old red blood cells; make bile; store glycerin; and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also produces substances to help blood clot, and it regulates the amount of blood in the body (see source).


Most persons have no signs of liver cancer in its early stages. Later, such signs might include unexplained weight loss, poor appetite, and/or upper abdominal pain (see source).


22. What is Parkinson’s disease?


This is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system. Medical researchers estimate that less than ten percent of Parkinson’s Disease cases are due to genetic predispositions. Instead, environmental factors increase the risk of contracting it, such as exposure to toxins. Four primary motor symptoms define Parkinson’s Disease, These are tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability (see source).


23. What does it cost to hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?


Galindo Law does not charge any upfront or out-of-pocket fees. We are only paid a percentage of the settlement we are able to secure. So, working with Galindo Law incurs zero financial risk for military personnel and families who have been affected by Camp Lejeune's contaminated water.



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