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.


 
 

 

VA implements second phase of Choice Card program

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Nov. 18 that it began mailing Veterans Choice Cards on November 17 to Veterans currently waiting more than 30-days from their preferred date or the date that is medically determined by their physician for an appointment at a VA facility. VA continues to focus on implementation of this new...
 
 

VA to hold small business engagement in Atlanta next month

The Department of Veterans Affairs, in collaboration with other federal agencies and partners, will sponsor the 4th annual National Veterans Small Business Engagement, Dec. 9-11 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. The premier event for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, the NVSBE is expected to attract as many as 3,000 attendees offering the chance...
 
 
Navy photograph by PO3 Jon Erickson

World War II cruiser USS Houston final report completed

Navy photograph by PO3 Jon Erickson Naval officers from Australia, Indonesia and the United States participate in a wreath-laying ceremony aboard the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in honor of the crews of the U.S. Na...
 

 
DOD photograph by PO2 Sean Hurt

Hagel says Vietnam Wall teaches sacrifice, need for questioning policies

DOD photograph by PO2 Sean Hurt Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel shakes hands with a Vietnam War veteran after a Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2014. The Vietnam War Memorial t...
 
 

Unbroken line of vets keeps America free, Biden says

An unbroken line of veterans has kept the United States and its freedoms safe since the founding of the republic, Vice President Joe Biden said Nov. 11 at America’s most sacred shrine. Biden thanked veterans and their families for their efforts and sacrifices during Veterans’ Day ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Jarad A. Denton

Veterans Day abroad: A moment of silence for the fallen

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Jarad A. Denton Rows of crosses line the Cambridge American Cemetery, England, Nov. 11, 2014. The cemetery was dedicated in 1956 as the final resting place of 3,812 American service members.  ...
 




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>