The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 – better known as the PACT Act, signed into law Aug. 10, 2022 – opens the door for certain individuals to file lawsuits and collect damages from the federal government due to their exposure to contaminated water on the Marine Corps base (also known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA)). Qualified claimants had to have served/lived at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune, N.C., between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.
Several law firms, through national ad campaigns, are urging veterans and families to sue the federal government for toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune, N.C. What these law firms are NOT telling our veterans is that the CLJA includes an offset clause. These law firms appear to be ignoring the offset provision because they do not understand VA disability law and have no interest in protecting veterans. This is why veterans should make informed decisions on which “lane” to use in obtaining benefits.
Any award made to an individual, or legal representative of an individual, under this section shall be offset by the amount of any disability award, payment, or benefit provided to the individual, or legal representative—
(i) any program under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
(ii) the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.); or
(iii) the Medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.); and
(B) in connection with health care or a disability relating to exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
To provide assistance for veterans dealing with the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation, the VA&R Commission recommended that The American Legion extend our agreement with Bergmann & Moore to help protect our members related to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act feeding frenzy.
In this matter, we respectfully request that you advise veterans and family members to:
- Contact Bergmann & Moore to determine whether filing a lawsuit is in their best interest (Offset triage to prevent veterans from accepting one-time benefits to their detriment of greater VA benefits). The website www.camplejeunelitigationteam.com/al/ provides a secure online form for Legionnaires and their family members to explain their circumstances. The firm also has a 24-hour phone number – 800-898-9450 – for those who do not wish to use the web platform.
Since August of 2017, The American Legion has had a litigation and training relationship with the Bergmann & Moore Law Firm to provide training for thousands of American Legion service officers (more than 2,000 to date), and to represent Veterans who are appealing their VA disability benefits from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to the US Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims. Over the past 5 years, they have assisted with 4,462 cases with an astonishing 99.7% win rate. For more background on B&M, please visit https://www.vetlawyers.com/
Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation
The American Legion
Washington D.C. HQ Office