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Monday, September 17, 2012

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water and OWCP

President Obama signed the "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012" ("Camp Lejeune Act") on August 6, 2012. This law in part provides for medical care for veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water while stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Passage of this legislation has triggered inquiries concerning FECA coverage for employees and former employees at Camp Lejeune.

A federal employee would be entitled to FECA benefits for a timely claimed medical condition caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune if he or she was exposed to such water contamination in the performance of his or her duties (such as by drinking such water while at work) and could provide medical evidence that such exposure caused, contributed to or aggravated that medical condition.

In a case of latent disability (the illness shows up later), or a condition such as a cancer due to occupational exposure, the time for filing a claim does not begin to run until an employee is aware, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have been aware, of the causal relationship between his or her employment and the compensable condition / disability.