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A Quick Reminder: Who Is Eligible Under the PACT Act

Veterans, family members, civilian employees and others exposed for at least 30 days from Aug. 1, 1953, to Dec. 31, 1987, may qualify to file a claim or lawsuit if they were diagnosed with a presumptive health condition or another they can show was, more likely than not, the result of contamination. In utero exposure qualifies, and if an individual died of one of the conditions, a legal representative may qualify to file a wrongful death claim.

Because the law requires that a legal claim “accrue” prior to the enactment of the PACT Act, a medical diagnosis must predate the signing of the law Aug. 10, 2022. A claim or lawsuit must be filed within a two-year window of the law’s signing; or within six months after the denial of a claim.

A claimant may not file a lawsuit until after a claim has been denied or after not receiving a decision for more than six months.

‘Elective Option’ Illnesses and Settlement Amounts

The Navy and Justice Department announced a process for expediting certain claims in September, establishing a reduced burden of proof by presuming that nine illnesses are connected to the contaminated water.

Within the “elective option,” or EO, two tiers of illnesses — aka “qualifying injuries” — may qualify claimants for an expedited, standard settlement within the EO. The tier and the length of time a claimant was exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water supply determine the settlement amount.

Tier 1 Qualifying Injury

Illnesses:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Bladder cancer

Standard settlements:

  • 30-364 days of exposure: $150,000
  • 1-5 years of exposure: $300,000
  • More than 5 years of exposure: $450,000

Tier 2 Qualifying Injury

Illnesses:

  • Multiple myeloma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Kidney disease/end-stage renal disease
  • Systemic sclerosis/systemic scleroderma

Settlements:

  • 30-364 days of exposure: $100,000
  • 1-5 years of exposure: $250,000
  • More than 5 years of exposure: $400,000

Claimants who file a complete and accurate claim under the EO can expect payment within 60 days, according to the Department of the Navy.