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Veteran with brain cancer gets $600,000 in back benefits

By June 7, 2023June 13th, 2023VA Disability4 min read

Who hasn’t seen an ad for a law firm talking about Camp Lejeune in North Carolina? From 1953 to 1987, more than a million Marines and their families living at this base were using and drinking water that had been contaminated by the dry cleaning chemical, TCE. Years of studies later, it was proven that the water caused a number of illnesses for those who came in contact with it — even if they were only at the base for as few as thirty days.

The problem became so obvious the government created new rules connecting a number of sicknesses to Camp Lejeune. A list of specific diseases was named and included in the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. When the act passed, the government began to help Veterans who had become ill and had their lives disrupted by exposure to these toxins through a program separate from VA Disability benefits.

Recently, a Veteran who had suffered from brain cancer, came to one of our partner firms. He had applied for benefits through the VA twice and had been denied because he could not prove the connection between his illness and his service. At the time, brain cancer was not on the list of diseases included in the law. Our team took the case to the court of appeals, hiring a neuropsychologist, an environmental toxicologist and an oncologist who proved that the Marine’s brain cancer was the result of his service and time spent at Camp Lejeune. Through our efforts, the Veteran won more than $600,000 in back benefits.

This case, and others like it, require the expertise and resources of attorneys who focus on all aspects of VA Disability law. Connecting the dots, hiring the right experts, and having the financial resources to spend up front in order to obtain a positive result, are typically beyond the means of an individual Veteran or the state Veterans Administration (VA) agencies that help Veterans apply for disability.

Veterans Disability benefits are generally meant for Veterans whose earning capacity is impacted due to an injury or illness that occurred during their time of service. This program often doesn’t apply to Veterans who lived at Camp Lejeune because, like the client in this article, they may have had a disease that is not considered to be presumptively associated with the toxic water exposure.

In another case, a female Veteran developed breast cancer after her service at Camp Lejeune. After treatment and reconstructive surgery she returned to work. Both of these individuals, however, experienced pain and suffering, and the psychological effects of having had cancer. They deserved compensation for their health problems. The VA will not pay benefits based on pain and suffering, but only based on impairment in earning capacity. But the new Camp Lejuene Justice Act allows for tort recovery whereby a veteran could obtain monetary compensation for pain and suffering.

VA Disability only considers a person’s ability to work, it does not look at the other effects caused by the diseases with which Veterans have been diagnosed. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act helps Marines who have lived through these challenges. If you or someone you know lived at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987; if you’re applying for Veterans Disability benefits; or if you think your disability rating is too low, contact us at or call 1-800-343-8537. Let our experience work for you.