US Senator Marco Rubio Is Concerned The Navy Is Not Doing Enough To Process Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claims
Senator Rubio represents the State of Florida home to the second largest number of Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims have been filed
Monday, June 19, 2023 - About 60,000 Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims are sitting idle at the Department of the Navy waiting to be logged into a new computer system that is being built that could take months more to complete, even if the computer glitches (bugs in the program) that could be expected were to be addressed. According to CN, US Senator Marco Rubio has taken up the cause of seeing that US Marines are paid as quickly as possible. The lawmaker recently wrote a scathing letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro expressing his constituent's concern that he feared the claims have resulted in an administrative quagmire that is preventing them from being addressed let alone being paid. "Those impacted by the contaminated water are stuck in a bureaucratic waiting game," Rubio wrote. "These delays in claims processing are adding even more insult to injury for veterans, their dependents, and others who are suffering due to the Navy's lack of movement to expeditiously process claims. Those who have served this nation deserve better," CN reported. The Navy responded by saying that the reason for the delays is that the department tasked to process Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims is underfunded and understaffed and that a computer program in which to input the claims is not ready yet. " The Navy blames claims processing delays on a lack of funding and staff. According to Navy attorney Jennifer Tennile Karnes, nearly 500 law firms have registered to represent Camp Lejeune clients. Karnes said her tort claims unit is working "an unsustainable amount of overtime" to process all of the claims," according to CN. Camp Lejeune water attorneys continue to interview potential claimants.
According to government sources, the number of Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims will continue to increase as more and more US marines are made aware they can file claims through the media and through local town hall meetings at VFW lodges and other military veteran organizations. CN writes, " According to Navy attorney Jennifer Tennile Karnes, nearly 500 law firms have registered to represent Camp Lejeune clients. Karnes said her tort claims the unit is working "an unsustainable amount of overtime" to process all of the claims." This is in addition to those who use the 25,000 or so who have used the U.S. Department of Defense's online self-registry to file their claim. Senator Rubio also expressed his concern that the rate of US Marine veterans from Camp Lejeune that have developed Parkinson's disease was nearly double that of Marine veterans that served at other installations. Rubio requested information from the Secretary of the Navy about the factors that have led to the delays in processing CLJA claims and the delays in implementing the online portal that could speed up claims processing. Rubio also asks for the number of employees currently working on CLJA claims and how many more are needed to pay the claims more quickly. He also asks what the Navy was doing to address the special needs of those whose diseases were more acute and those who could possibly die before a claim was paid. Finally, Rubio asks what the timeframe is to process all of the claims.