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  1. Sort of Long I joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve in July of 1986, and received an honorable discharge in July of 1994. For approximately 45 days in early October of 1986 until late November of 1986, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC with the Warehouse Unit (3051) for training (ACDUTRA). Several years after my separation from service in approximately 1993, I really began to experience the effects of consuming the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. My mood changed drastically and I began to have major panic attacks. At one point in 1995 I was even taken by ambulance to the hospital for shortness of breath and the fear that I was having a massive heart attack. During this same year, I was formally diagnosed with suffering from Bipolar Disorder and Manic Depression. The strange thing about it is that I have never suffered from any psychological issues prior to my service at Camp Lejeune and do not have a family history of any psychiatric disorders. Over the next nineteen years, I took medication and occasional psychotherapy for my psychiatric condition. In spite of this my condition never really improved to the point that I felt normal. Since approximately 1992, I have had literally dozens of jobs. This is true, because my psychiatric condition makes it nearly impossible to hold down a job for any considerable amount of time. I have real trouble concentrating and focusing on things for long periods of time. Due to my educational background, I have been afforded some really good and high paying jobs like the Social Security Administration and school teaching. However, because of my lack of ability to focus, I am unable to sustain meaningful employment for more than a few months at a time. The stress of the workload and my inability to handle authority make it very difficult to remain on any job for very long; as a result, I ultimately quit. I reason that I can do better working alone and for myself and that I’ll earn a lot more working for myself, but that never seems to manifest either. I would say that most of my family members and close friends believe that there is seriously something wrong with me. I have been out of work for a year and a half and drive for Uber from time to time to earn money for gas and auto insurance. I prefer to spend most of my time alone and have pretty much cut off all contact with friends. I no longer have good health insurance like I did when I was married. Since it is difficult for me to maintain employment, I don’t have regular insurance coverage. As a result, I have not the taken much needed psychiatric medication for approximately four years. Consequently, my alcohol consumption has increased greatly and I weigh more than I ever have in my life. In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that my condition is the direct result of my exposure to the contaminated water that I consumed while at Camp Lejeune, NC. According to the EPA, the levels of PCE, TCE and other chemicals at Camp Lejeune were at least 1000 times higher than normal. Apparently the Marine Corps was aware of this situation and did nothing to correct it. Hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families have been victimized by this situation. In 2012, President Obama signed into law the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-154), which guarantees those veterans who served at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 for a minimum of 30 days and suffer from any of fifteen identified conditions, free treatment through the VA. I content that I suffer from Neurobehavioral Effects, which is one of the identified conditions. Depression falls within the realm of Neurobehavioral Effects. Perhaps there is a “light at the end of this long tunnel,” because, a Veterans Law Judge, in his appeal letter stated that my service record confirms that I was stationed at Camp Lejeune for training, which falls within the range of subjects identified as potentially exposed to VOCs during my service and that my VA treatment record shows that I have a history of depression and that I have received treatment from the VA for such. Aside from this I also show a history of being treated for years by outside psychiatrist. As a result, I will be afforded the elusive P&C examination as part of my case; I am finally going to receive the due process that I deserve. I keep getting denied! What would you do?
  2. Long time no see, y'all. First the important bit: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/includes/viewPDF.cfm?id=2743 If it works like ALS did, then effective dates will be from the date the regulation goes into effect. Meaning, if you've been fighting an appeal for years, they may grant on a presumptive basis effective the date of the new regulation,. Hopefully, however, you can get the right evidence and medical opinion so that you can win on DIRECT though. Now, the other thing. I used to be a VA adjudicator, and from time to time I would poke my nose in here, trying to help where I could. I got super busy with work as I tried like hell to help as many Veterans as possible, as well as trying to carve out a career path from RVSR to DRO to BVA judge. VA "declined" to help me with my law school student loans ($130k worth!) even though they have a program just for that, and the certs kept busting on USAJOBS, and I had lay people telling me, a licensed attorney, that I was wrong because their policy newsletter somehow outweighs a judge and the US Code. So I split after five and a half years. A very large plaintiff's law firm (mostly personal injury, workers comp, med malpractice) has decided to get involved in a ton of practice areas, and they expanded the Social Security section to include VA benefits. So, I get to be on the ground floor of a new practice area at a major law firm (un-named for now because I don't' want to look like I'm trolling for clients). Also, this isn't my real name, because I didn't want the VA coming after me when I worked there. I'm still super busy as I try to handle an enormous caseload, and help design our workflow so that we don't wind up in the same boat the VA is in. I won't have time to spend all day on Hadit. I wish I could though. I eat sleep and breathe this stuff, and I'm really passionate about it. I will try to become more active and help out where I can with some advice. (edit: spelling)
  3. Hi everyone, I have been directed to this site many times in my search for answers to my military related health problems. I kept searching elsewhere, but all roads seem to lead back here so I signed up. I am a Marine Corp veteran, Camp Lejeune January 1985 - August 1988, where I was living in the French Creek Barracks and working down in the Industrial area rebuilding and running the rebuilt engines right out in the open except for a 3/16 piece of sheet steel on casters to protect us. I was in the 2nd FSSG, 2nd Maint. BN., GSM CO. ,CRP Platoon. I did get the surprise letter in the mail around 2007 announcing that I had been drinking eating and bathing in contaminated water the whole time I was there. I started having weird head pains in 2004, what seemed like pressure in my sinus area and dry eyes, throat, and nausea. When it got bad I felt like I had the worst hangover in the world. If I even lightly touched my scalp it was like stabbing an icepick into my brain. Seen several doctors none believed me, then I made it into the VA healthcare system where I have been on every anti-depressant known to man and still have the pain. I have since contracted rheumatoid arthritis (diagnosed in January 2012) and have no idea how long I was suffering from that. The National Guard (2009-2013) kicked me out in January 2013 because of the RA, leaving me with no benefits and no job. I also have tinnitus, which I have been fighting for compensation from since Sept. 2010. Just sent third appeal to BVA in July they cannot find any reason for a service connection - Denied - Denied - Try standing next to a giant diesel engine running full bore every day and tell me there is no connection. I am expecting to drive down to Detroit for the video hearing sometime in the near future to receive my last Denial because they just will not give any weight to the job I performed in the component rebuild platoon! They started building an enclosed soundproof engine room right after some contractor took decibel level readings in our shop shortly before I got out. Is that enough damming evidence right there? Anyway, I have also been denied SSDI from the judge at that hearing, even though I am 50 years old, have done nothing else but build homes my whole life, and can no longer get out of bed each morning without wishing I would just not wake up anymore. I have the weirdest aches and pains, fatigue, depression, anxiety, degenerative disks, and osteoarthritis everywhere. The social security judge says I can be a cashier. WTF!!! I am thinking all of my medical problems are directly linked to Camp Lejeune’s well water and I will never get compensated for anything except a free burial, unless Obama cuts that out with his mighty unconstitutional executive orders also. Why cannot I get any friggen help? I just do not understand. They give social security to people who have never worked a day in their lives, and treat me like I am less worthy than those I have supported with my paychecks! I am so frustrated I had to blow off some steam. Thanks to anyone who reads this and can help me understand. Semper Fi, Stephen.
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