Reservists sickened at Camp Lejeune get benefits

Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 31, 2015

The VA has announced it would expand disability benefits for veterans exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

For the first time marine reservists who trained there will be eligible for VA health care. The plan comes six months after the I-Team questioned the VA about reservists being left out of the Camp Lejeune Health Care Act.

The Marine reservists we met with are suffering certain health conditions directly linked to the Camp Lejeune.

Congressman Gus Bilirakis got involved and help is on the way.

Former reservist Gary Ouillette said he spent the last 30 years in and out of treatment for tumors and diseases he blames on Camp Lejeune.

Just a few miles away, another former marine reservist, Bob Boulay is waging his own war. Lab results show he’s suffering from stage three kidney disease. It is one of the classic markers associated with the camp's contaminated water.

We took their stories to Congressman Gus Bilirakis last summer. In November, he introduced legislation to provide access for medical services to reservists who trained at Camp Lejeune.

Just weeks after the congressman sent House Bill 3954 to the Committee on Veterans Affairs the VA announced it would expand disability benefits for veterans exposed to the water at the camp between 1953 and 1987.

The doors to healthcare and disability benefits will open in the next few months after the VA finalizes the new regulations. It can't happen fast enough for former reservists like Ouillette and Boulay who've been turned away by the VA over and over again.

The V-A will announce when the regulations are final and benefits can begin.

Here’s more information on applying for these benefits: