Veterans

August 7, 2012

Law allows VA health benefits for Camp Lejeune water victims

by Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

President Barack Obama signed into law Aug. 6 a bill enabling the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide health benefits to veterans and families diagnosed with diseases related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“I think all Americans feel we have a moral, sacred duty toward our men and women in uniform,” Obama said before signing the “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012″ in the Oval Office. The law covers those with conditions linked to water contamination that occurred on Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987.

“They protect our freedom, and it’s our obligation to do right by them,” he said. “This bill takes another important step in fulfilling that commitment.”

The president was joined at the signing by Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant who served at Camp Lejeune and advocated on behalf of affected veterans and families. The first title of the law was named after his daughter, Janey, who died of leukemia at age 9. Mike Partain also attended. The son and grandson of Marine officers, Partain was born at Camp Lejeune and developed breast cancer at age 39. He serves as a community representative for the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

“This bill ends a decade-long struggle for those who serve at Camp Lejeune,” Obama said. “Some of the veterans and their families who were based in Camp Lejeune in the years when the water was contaminated will now have access to extended medical care. And, sadly, this act alone will not bring back those we’ve lost, including Jane Ensminger, but it will honor their memory by making a real difference for those who are still suffering.”

The bill has several other provisions to improve VA health care coverage, housing, education and burial benefits, White House officials said. An initiative on preventing homelessness among veterans renews VA’s authority to work with community organizations and make use of previously underutilized VA properties, they said.

“It is going to have an immediate impact,” Obama said. “It is going to improve access to health care, streamline services in the VA, and it expands support for veterans who are homeless.”

The law also restricts protests at military funerals by prohibiting demonstrations from within 300 feet for two hours before and after services. “I am very pleased to be signing this bill into law,” the president said. “The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground. And, obviously, we all defend our Constitution and the First Amendment and free speech, but we also believe that when men and women die in the service of their country and are laid to rest, it should be done with the utmost honor and respect.”

 

 

 

 

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger

82nd Airborne helps commemorate 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden

Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger A paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, reflects near the grave of a British paratrooper at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Sept. 14, 2014, in the Netherlands. The...
 
 

VA announces awardees of grants that support disabled veterans in adaptive Sports

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald announced Sept. 29 the award of approximately $8 million in grants to provide adaptive sports opportunities for disabled veterans and disabled service members of the Armed Forces. Adaptive sports are those sports that have been created or modified for persons with disabilities. Partnering with national, regional, and community-based...
 
 
Air Force photograph by John Turner

WWII Airman lost in Pacific brought home to Montana after 70 year wait

Air Force graphic by Robert Stillwell First Lt. William D. Bernier, of Augusta, Mont., was reported missing April 10, 1944, when his B-24D Liberator was shot down over New Guinea while attacking a Japanese-held port. Bernier wa...
 

 

VA updates disability claims application

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Sept. 24 that it is introducing a uniformed disability claims form to better serve veterans, families and survivors. Standardizing the process by which veterans file claims and initiate appeals will make it easier for veterans and their survivors to clearly state what benefits they are seeking from VA and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Mercedes Crossland

POW/MIA: Daughter of missing Vietnam-era pilot shares story of loss

Courtesy photograph Air Force Capt. Kelly Cook, left, a pilot who flew early generation fighter bombers, shakes the hand of another officer circa 1950s. Cook was a member of the Iowa Air National Guard when he was called to act...
 
 

Soldier missing from World War II accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Sept. 10 that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Army Pfc. Bernard Gavrin of Brooklyn, New York, was buried Sept. 12, in Arlington National Cemetery. On...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>