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VA proposes rules on payouts for Lejeune water contamination

The Department of Veterans Affairs filed proposed rules with the Federal Register on Wednesday that would be used to implement part of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which became law a year ago.

Public comments on the proposed rule are being solicited until Oct. 11.

The law mandates that the VA provide health care to certain veterans and their families who were at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in the last half of the 20th century because of illnesses arising from consumption of contaminated water there.

The proposed rules only cover care for veterans; rules for family members will be filed at a later date.

Among the proposed rules are:

  • Defining the affected area as “any area within the borders of the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.” The statute and legislative history had not demarcated the extent of the affected area, and this definition would include all base housing, training sites and any other facilities servicemembers had access to.
  • Defining eligible veterans as any who served at Camp Lejeune on active duty for at least 30 days – consecutive or nonconsecutive – between Jan. 1, 1957, and Dec. 31, 1987.
  • Waiving copayments if health care is for one of 15 illnesses or conditions associated with the contaminated water.
  • Retroactively reimbursing veterans for copayments made for qualifying illnesses and conditions. Reimbursement would be retroactive only to Aug. 6, 2012, the day the law was passed.

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