County Executive Ilene Shapiro, County Council and Veterans Service Commission Director Larry Moore are warning Summit County veterans and their families to be on the lookout for Camp Lejeune water contamination misinformation and scams.
Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation authorizing veterans and their families exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station to sue the federal government. Bad actors and scammers are now using this information to take advantage of victims and target the military community at large with misleading commercials, ads, text messages and more. Nationwide, veterans and their families have become targets of unscrupulous attorneys and other con artists looking cash in.
The truth is eligible veterans entitled to Camp Lejeune or New River Air Station disability benefits from the Veterans Administration do not need to hire an attorney to access the benefits. In fact, signing a contract with an attorney often requires an upfront payment, with attorneys keeping a portion regardless of the claim’s validity. Retaining an attorney may also negatively affect a veteran in the long-term due to VA benefit offsets.
Summit County veterans who believe they may be eligible for a disability benefits, should first contact Veterans Service Commission. This agency provides support and services to veterans and their families, and staff will provide guidance related to Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station claims at no cost. If VSC believes a veteran has a valid claim, they will help them to complete the necessary paperwork and submit it to the VA.
Summit County veterans can contact VSC at 330-643-2830. The agency is located at 1060 E. Waterloo Rd in Akron and has walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
To be eligible for these specific disability benefits, veterans, reservists and guardsmen must have served for at least 30 cumulative days at either Camp Lejeune or New River Air Station from August 1953 to December 1987 and may not have been dishonorably discharged when they separated from the military. They must have a diagnosis of certain presumptive conditions, ranging from adult leukemia to Parkinson’s disease (a complete list of conditions is available at the link below).
Full details about Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station water contamination disability benefits, including how to access benefits for eligible family members, is available at https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/.