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Contaminated water can cause fatal illness -- even to Marines

It is a troubling fact that many of us in West Virginia are exposed to toxic chemicals on a regular basis. Poisons may be in the air you breathe, the food you eat or the water you drink.

Repeated exposure to pollution, contamination and toxic substances, whether at work or at home, has stricken millions of Americans with chronic or deadly diseases - including those who served their country in the military.

Tainted water at Marine Corps base

In a particularly egregious example, members of the Marine Corps and their families stationed at Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, unknowingly used drinking water contaminated with numerous chemicals, including benzene and industrial solvents. This went on for decades, starting no later than the early 1950s.

However, it was not until 2012 that Congress took action, passing a law that promised to pay disability compensation for servicemembers who developed one of eight diseases after being exposed to the tainted water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987:

· Adult leukemia

· Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

· Bladder, kidney or liver cancer

· Multiple myeloma

· Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

· Parkinson's disease

The law also provides free health care for Marines who were on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during that time period in relation to certain other diseases, including several forms of cancer, brain damage and miscarriages.

The role of Social Security Disability

With this law, Congress was trying to make up for a past wrong that caused terrible illnesses to Marines and their loved ones. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have a different purpose, but similarly help people too ill or disabled to continue working. If you are living with a qualifying condition and meet other requirements, you could receive substantial benefits to help make up for your lost income.

To find out if you qualify for SSD or what it takes to successfully appeal a denied SSD application, consider contacting an experienced West Virginia SSD attorney.

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Charleston, WV 25301

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