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York County has a large population of veterans who might be eligible for services recently established by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

The department has established a presumptive service connection for veterans suffering from disabilities that resulted from consuming contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to a news release from the county.

The contaminated water is believed to be affecting veterans who served there from Aug. 1, 1953, through Dec. 31, 1987, and the county has a large number of U.S. Marine Corps veterans who served during that period.

Eight diseases are considered related to this contamination: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Parkinson's disease, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, adult leukemia, multiple myeloma and aplastic anemia or other myelodysplastic syndromes.

Veterans and surviving spouses are eligible for financial compensation for these conditions, according to the release.

The county's Department of Veteran Affairs is seeking veterans who have been denied claims for the listed conditions, veterans who have a diagnosis for the conditions but never filed claims and surviving spouses of veterans who died from one of those conditions or had one of the conditions as a contributing factor in their death.

Surviving spouses are eligible to receive benefits for life, but they are often difficult to reach because they might be out of the loop regarding VA benefits. Many veterans might not have filed for benefits because of the VA's history of denying claims, the release states.

The county's department can be reached at 717-771-9218.

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