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Navy Proposes a Resolution Plan for Some Camp Lejeune Claims.

On September 6, 2023, the Department of the Navy (DON), in conjunction with the Department of Justice (DOJ), announced a settlement framework for certain Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) claimants. This settlement is called the “Elective Option” or “EO.” Clients meeting the criteria set forth by the DON may receive a settlement offer through the Elective Option program and will have 60 days to decide. If accepted, and upon completion and verification of the required release paperwork, the DON has pledged to notify the Department of the Treasury and have checks issued within 60 days. While this seems to be promising news, the Public Guidance on the Elective Option did not say when offers would start. Following are some Q&As that might be helpful.

Q. Which diseases are covered?

A. Please see the chart below.

Disease Qualifying Injury Tier
Kidney Cancer Tier 1
Liver Cancer Tier 1
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Tier 1
Leukemia Tier 1
Bladder Cancer  Tier 1
Multiple Myeloma Tier 2
Parkinson’s Disease Tier 2
Kidney Disease / End Stage Renal Disease Tier 2
Systemic Sclerosis / Scleroderma Tier 2

Q. How much will my offer be?

A. Qualifying injury claimants will receive offers between $100,000 and $450,000 as described in the chart below. 

Table 1

30-364 Days exposed
1 year to 5 years
More than 5 years
Tier 1 Qualifying Injury $150,000 $300,000 $450,000
Tier 2 Qualifying Injury $100,000 $250,000 $400,000

*Qualifying Wrongful Death claimants receive an additional $100,000. Thus, the range of offers in the EO program will be $100,000 – $550,000.

For example, a qualifying claimant who suffered from Leukemia after being exposed at Camp Lejeune for four (4) years would receive an EO settlement offer of $300,000. A bladder cancer victim having served at Camp Lejeune for over five (5) years who passed away from the illness would receive an offer of $550,000, the maximum offer under the EO program.

Q. What can I do to enter the program?

A. No action is required at this time. The DON will screen all claims and alert qualifying claimants of a settlement offer through their attorney on record. When we receive the offer, the DON will let us know what documents are needed to secure the offer. We will communicate this with you as soon as possible.

Q. What if my disease is not one of the nine qualifying injuries?

A. The DON is starting with nine (9) diseases they have identified as both most definitively linked scientifically, and the least fact intensive cases. Certain otherwise qualifying injuries, such as cardiac birth defects, are too case specific and fact intensive to make a global resolution framework. If you do not have one of the nine (9) diseases, your case will continue through the administrative and legal process. The DON and DOJ have not ruled out further settlement options.

Q. What about VA benefits?

A. Your VA benefits will not be affected by the Elective Option settlement. In other words, the Government will not try to reduce the settlement amount based on any VA benefits. However, if you have a VA service connection for Camp Lejeune, you “pre-qualify” for the EO program.

Q. Is the EO mandatory?

A. No. The Elective Option program is voluntary. If you receive an offer, you may reject it and proceed on the administrative claims process and on to litigation.

Q. When will I receive an offer?

A. We don’t know yet, but this DON process is likely to continue to require patience. It has been over a year since the CLJA passed in August 2023, and while the EO program does seem promising, we’re still waiting on the DON to make offers. Almost 100,000 claims have been filed, so it will take time.

Q. What will I need to do to get paid?

A. DON will first screen government databases to verify CLJA claims. For example, an ex-Marine who spent years at Camp Lejeune and was later treated at the VA for Bladder Cancer may not need to provide any further evidence because the DON can verify these facts in government systems. Furthermore, we are continuing to work in gathering pertinent records to support your claim, including gathering your medical records. And we will continue to work on your behalf with the DON and DOJ.