Veterans and their family members who lived or worked at the North Carolina Marine Corps base while the water was contaminated need specific Camp Lejeune records to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA), a part of the PACT Act.
Determining if your loved one was at Camp Lejeune by requesting certain documents is the first step in seeking compensation from a Camp Lejeune settlement or other payouts from the federal government.
However, tracking down Camp Lejeune records can be challenging for people seeking justice for family members who passed away years ago.
The government has estimated over $21 billion will be paid out through Camp Lejeune claims to those impacted by the toxic water.
Camp Lejeune housing records and more are available to eligible family members from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), but requesting all of these documents can be time-consuming.
You only have until August 2024 to file a claim under the CLJA, so don’t wait. Don’t worry if you are uncertain about where to begin. The Camp Lejeune Claims Center may be able to help you gather the required Camp Lejeune records.
Find out right now with a free claim review.
How Do I Get Camp Lejeune Records for My Family Member?
You will need to request a copy of your loved one’s DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) to prove that they lived at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Requesting the veteran’s military service records is crucial to establishing both their service and, as a result, time spent at the base.
The process for requesting Camp Lejeune military records is the same for active duty service members, veterans, and qualifying family members.
All requests for military service records must be submitted to NARA through its National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) department.
The department offers three ways to request Camp Lejeune military records:
- Fill out a request online through the NPRC website
- Print out an SF 180 form, fill it out, and mail it to the listed address
- Write and mail a formal request for records
Veterans or a deceased veteran’s next of kin (like a spouse, parents, children, or siblings) may request these records. Others may also request records, but the information released to them may be more limited due to privacy considerations.
What Additional Camp Lejeune Records Will I Need?
When filing a Camp Lejeune claim, it’s important to understand that the records you need may vary based on the type of compensation or VA benefits you’re applying for.
Remember, family members will need to provide the service member’s records plus proof of relationship, such as marriage licenses, birth certificates, or adoption documents.
Below are the types of Camp Lejeune records you may need.
Evidence for Duration of Exposure
To establish the duration of exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water, you will need documentation that proves residency or work at the base for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987.
Proving exposure duration can often be done through:
- Employment records, like tax returns, pay stubs, and employment contracts
- Housing documentation, like military service records and driver’s licenses
Requesting discharge papers (DD Form 214) from the NPRC will usually be enough to prove exposure duration for eligible veterans.
Medical Documentation for Qualifying Conditions
Eligibility to file a claim requires medical documentation confirming the diagnosis or treatment of a Camp Lejeune health issue.
Qualifying Camp Lejeune conditions can be demonstrated with:
- Death certificates
- Letters from a medical doctor (signed and certified)
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Test results
- Treatment notes
Working with an experienced lawyer means they will help you collect the medical records you need — even if they are from decades in the past from treatment facilities you were unaware of.
Proof of Wrongful Death
For a Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim, there must be evidence showing a medical condition linked with the toxic water contributed to or caused the death.
Evidence to show death was caused by the toxic water may include:
- Detailed (long form) death certificate or a letter from the treating physician
- Medical documentation linking a Camp Lejeune health issue to death
Death certificates are available in the vital records office in the state where the death occurred. Requesting a copy typically includes filling out a form and paying a fee.
Other Requirements for Camp Lejeune Records
Originals or certified copies of records are needed. If that is not possible, a sworn statement may work. You can also use previous VA benefits related to Camp Lejeune. However, affidavits or simple statements usually aren’t enough.
This is a starting point, and your particular claim might need additional or different documentation. Always confirm the specific claim requirements.
Working with a Camp Lejeune lawyer simplifies the record retrieval process. They know the specific needs for each claim type and help ensure you have the correct paperwork.
With a skilled lawyer’s help, you increase your chance of a successful claim and also get the peace of mind that comes from having every detail handled professionally.
The Camp Lejeune Claims Center works with some of the leading Camp Lejeune attorneys across the nation. Find out if we can connect you right now with a free claim review.
Dealing With Record Delays at the National Archives
A significant challenge in obtaining Camp Lejeune records is that the NPRC is experiencing a substantial delay in processing records requests.
The NPRC has a backlog of 300,000 record requests, and the bottleneck is expected to continue until at least December 2023.
This delay is particularly critical for those seeking Camp Lejeune-related records, as discharge papers (DD Form 214 or equivalent) are essential for filing claims.
Camp Lejeune claims must be filed by August 2024, which leaves little time for unforeseen delays.
Therefore, families are encouraged to seek assistance from their members of Congress, who may be able to expedite the processing of these vital records.
Additionally, many families are turning to specialized Camp Lejeune lawyers for help. Experienced legal professionals can manage much of the document retrieval process, easing the burden on families and ensuring that necessary paperwork is gathered efficiently and correctly.
Find out if our legal partners can help you get Camp Lejeune records by calling our highly trained claims advocates at (866) 473-4764 right now.
Payout Options for Camp Lejeune Claims
For those impacted by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, there are now several avenues to seek compensation. Learn more about these options below.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuits
Anyone who lived, worked, or served at Camp Lejeune from August 1953 to December 1987 and developed long-term health issues, like cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders, may be able to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Before the CLJA, victims could only seek VA disability benefits due to government immunity. However, they now have the opportunity to file lawsuits for compensation covering medical costs and other damages.
In September 2023, the Justice Department and Navy launched the voluntary Elective Option (EO) to streamline the claims process for certain Camp Lejeune claims.
The EO evaluates claims through a two-tier system, assigning set monetary amounts to particular health conditions regardless of the illness’s severity or impact. Depending on the medical condition and exposure duration, compensation is guaranteed at $100,000 to $550,000.
Legal experts, however, believe that many victims could potentially receive higher compensation if they reject this initial offer and take their cases to court instead.
Camp Lejeune lawsuits could lead to a more tailored and larger settlement for those affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
In addition to filing a claim, Camp Lejeune veterans and family members may be able to seek benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
To get VA benefits, you must provide evidence of an illness associated with Camp Lejeune and prove your military service or connection to a military service member.
VA benefits veterans and loved ones may be able to access include:
- Disability compensation
- Health care benefits
- Pension payments
- Survivors benefits
The 2023 VA monthly disability payment for a 100% rating is over $3,600, and may be worth more based on dependent status.
Get Help With Your Camp Lejeune Claim
If you or a loved one spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune while the water was contaminated, you may be eligible to receive a life-changing amount of money. But you will need the proper Camp Lejeune records to get started.
The Camp Lejeune Claims Center is here to help. Our knowledgeable claims advocates are available to answer your questions and guide you through the process of seeking compensation.
Our legal partners have already helped over 30,000 families with their Camp Lejeune claims. Find out if we can help you, too.