On December 17, 2015, we blogged about the VA’s intent to propose regulations regarding presumptive conditions for veterans exposed to VOCs at Camp Lejeune. Other news sources quoted VA officials as stating that it may take up to one year for any future proposed regulation to become final. Frankly, this is likely a realistic timeline given the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
In a VA “Blog” at VAntage, the agency provided some additional information. This included the following quote, “If a claim for service connection for one of the proposed presumptive conditions would be denied under current regulations, the denial will be stayed until VA issues its final regulations.” I’ll note, the term to “stay” an action is a very specific legal term of art that is really not a composite of Title 38. Hopefully, in the near future the VA will release additional information. More information can be found at the following link:
VA plans to propose expanded disability benefits eligibility for Veterans exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
Personally, I take the position that the veteran should continue to advance claim without regard of any pending regulatory change. Hopefully, in the near future the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will publish the scientific studies that the VA is relying upon to formulate their decision-making process. This may provide both VA and non-VA medical examiners with additional information so that the veteran can be service connected on a direct basis without the need to wait until final promulgation of the regulation governing presumptive conditions. Information from the ATSDR regarding Camp Lejeune can be found at the following link: ATSDR – Camp Lejeune.
If you have questions concerning possible entitlements under Title 38 for Camp Lejeune veterans, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (732) 382-6070 or via email at sdirector@FRE-L.com.