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March 6, 2024

VA Rating for Neurobehavioral Effects – Explained!

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It’s no secret that US military personnel have faced issues arising from environmental exposures. It’s also no secret these exposures can have lasting effects.

One such instance is the neurobehavioral effects stemming from the contamination of Camp Lejeune’s water supply. 

In this post, we look into the significance of a VA rating for neurobehavioral effects, with a specific focus on the aftermath of the Camp Lejeune water contamination.



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VA Rating for Neurobehavioral Effects

A VA rating for neurobehavioral effects is determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the severity and impact of the health condition. Veterans may be rated between 0% to 100%, which affects the amount of VA disability compensation they receive. 

Some veterans may qualify for disability benefits through presumptive conditions, eliminating the need to establish a service connection. 

In such instances, the VA assumes that the condition is linked to military service based on specific criteria met by the veteran. A well-known illustration of this is Vietnam veterans qualifying for conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure.


How to Get Service Connected for Neurobehavioral Effects

To win a VA rating for neurobehavioral effects, you must first establish service connection. This requires three things:

  • A medical diagnosis of your current disability.
  • Evidence of an injury or disease that occurred during your military service.
  • Establish a Nexus (connection or link) between your in-service injury or disease and your present diagnosed disability through competent medical evidence (e.g., a Nexus Letter).

How to File a VA Claim for Neurobehavioral Effects

To file a VA claim to receive a neurobehavioral effects VA rating, follow these five steps:

  • Gather Documentation: Collect medical records showing current diagnosis, test results, service records, and other evidence, such as Medical Nexus Letter or Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) linking your Neurobehavioral Effects to your military service.
  • Complete VA Form 21-526EZ: Fill out this form to apply for disability compensation. Include details about your exposure, symptoms, and how it affects your daily life.
  • Submit Your Claim: Send the completed form and supporting documents to the VA regional office handling your claim. You can submit it online through the VA website, by mail, or in person.
  • Undergo Examinations: The VA might schedule you for medical examinations to evaluate the extent of your Neurobehavioral Effects.
  • Await the Decision: The VA will review your claim, considering the evidence provided.

The VA will notify you of their decision regarding your eligibility for neurobehavioral effects VA rating, including VA benefits and compensation.


Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Camp Lejeune, a US Marine Corps base in North Carolina, faced a significant water contamination issue that spanned several decades.

The water supply at the base was contaminated with various toxins, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), trichloroethylene (TCE), and other hazardous substances. 

This contamination has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including neurobehavioral effects.

Those stationed there between 1953 and 1987 for 30 days or more are presumed to have consumed contaminated water.

In these cases, the burden of proving a direct link to military service is alleviated, acknowledging the inherent connection between the health condition and the environmental exposure at the base.

The VA created the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 and VA Rule 38 CFR 3 effective March 14, 2017, thus making the following health conditions presumptive and offering free health care to military and family members stationed at the site.

  • Adult-onset Leukemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Liver Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Other Myelodysplastic syndromes

Camp Lejeune Neurobehavioral Effects

If you suspect exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, here’s what the VA can do for you.

Since 2012, veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, have been eligible for cost-free hospital care and medical services for any of 15 illnesses or conditions identified in the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, as amended (codified at 38 U.S.C. § 1710(e)(1)(F).

Qualifying health conditions for VA disability include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects / Parkinson’s disease

Veterans, Reservists, and National Guard members who served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and later developed one of the following eight diseases: Adult leukemia, aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease, are eligible for disability compensation benefits.

What impact does the PACT Act have on veterans and families who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune? 

Section 804 of the 2022 PACT Act is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (“CLJA”), which allows new lawsuits for individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. 

Whether veterans and family members decide to seek relief under the CLJA is entirely their decision and will not influence the VA’s decision to provide them VA benefits or health care based on their exposure; it also will not affect the amount of benefits or health care the VA can provide them. 

It is important to know that if a veteran or family member is awarded relief by the court in a lawsuit brought under the CLJA, the award must be offset by the amount of any disability award, payment, or benefit the VA provided to the veteran, family member, or their legal representative relating to exposure to water at Camp Lejeune. 

This would reduce the amount of the award veterans or family members receive from the court, but it would not affect their VA benefits.

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In summary, the VA’s disability rating system is crucial for veterans suffering neurobehavioral effects of Camp Lejeune water contamination. If Camp Lejeune water has caused neurobehavioral effects, you could qualify for a VA rating.

Presumptive conditions simplify the process, acknowledging the link between specific health issues and environmental exposure.

Camp Lejeune’s water contamination between 1953 and 1987 led to various health problems, prompting the VA to recognize presumptive conditions for affected individuals, including a range of diseases.

The enactment of the Honoring our PACT Act in 2022, particularly the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, allows those exposed to pursue legal action without affecting VA benefits.

While court-awarded relief may be offset, veterans and families can choose the path that suits them best.

The VA remains committed to providing care and benefits, offering options for those affected by Camp Lejeune’s water contamination.



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Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating FAST!

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asaad fakhir


Asaad Fakhir

A former US Army translator in Iraq (2006-2009) and an ex-commissioned Iraqi officer, Asaad graduated from the Royal Australian Military College (2010-2014). Asaad holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Arts and currently serves as a content writer at VACI, leveraging military experience with linguistic skills to create impactful content.

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