Mesothelioma Veterans Benefits

Veterans often worked with asbestos during their military service, causing them to develop illnesses, like mesothelioma, later in life. Former U.S. military members who developed asbestos-related diseases can file for VA benefits. With the help of an accredited claims agent, veterans can access government compensation to help them pay for their treatments.

VA Benefits for Veterans With Asbestos-Related Diseases

Many military service members have suffered delayed health consequences after being exposed to asbestos during their service. Today, more and more veterans continue to develop asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Fortunately, the United States government offers health benefits and other forms of compensation to veterans who develop health problems after serving in the military. If you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible to access these benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Compensating Veterans for Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was once viewed as the miracle material for its durability. As a result, it was widely used in military ships, vehicles, airplanes and buildings despite the dangers it presented to military personnel.

Every United States military branch used asbestos products extensively from the 1930s to the mid-1980s. Many military service members developed diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma after being exposed to airborne asbestos.

Veterans account for about 30% of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases.

Veterans with asbestos-related illnesses deserve compensation. The Department of Veterans Affairs administers benefits for all United States military branches to help cover the medical expenses and lost income of veterans who develop diseases after being exposed to asbestos.

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How to Apply for VA Benefits

You can apply for VA benefits whether or not you are still an active-duty member. Since mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to develop after exposure to asbestos, most mesothelioma-related claims are filed after veterans have completed their service. There is no statute of limitations for VA benefits applications.

There are a few ways to apply for VA benefits, including:

  • Online through the VA website
  • In-person at a VA office
  • With the help of an accredited third-party assistant or lawyer

Proving Your VA Claim

When you make an asbestos-related VA claim, you must prove that you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. You must also show that your illness developed as a result of your exposure to asbestos.

To prove that your diagnosis resulted from your time in the military, your claim must demonstrate the following:

  • A qualified medical practitioner has diagnosed you with a disease or impairment that was caused by asbestos exposure.
  • Your service duties and locations were consistent with known asbestos-exposure hazards. The VA has identified certain high-risk military occupations.
  • Your long-term disability was caused by asbestos exposure while you were on duty.

High-Risk Military Occupations

Some military service duties presented higher risks of asbestos exposure than others. People serving in these high-risk occupations were much more likely to be exposed to airborne asbestos fibers.

Service occupations with the highest asbestos exposure risk are: 

  • Shipyard workers, repair specialists and refitters
  • Boilermakers, pipefitters and welders
  • Seafaring personnel working in engine, boiler and propulsion rooms
  • Millwrights, machinists and fabricators
  • Automotive and heavy equipment mechanics
  • Aircraft technicians and flight crews
  • Armored vehicle operators and support personnel
  • Carpenters, construction and demolition workers
  • Insulators, drywallers and painters

Military Products and Asbestos Exposure

The VA also recognizes that certain asbestos-containing products put service personnel at risk of developing diseases. Usually, these products were handled by people holding high-risk occupations.

High-risk asbestos-containing products include:

  • Insulation, soundproofing and fireproofing materials
  • Welding rods and protective welding clothing
  • Pipe and duct wrap
  • Cement powder and masonry mortar
  • Friction products like brake pads and clutch plates
  • Roofing, flooring, and wallboard construction materials
  • Paint, adhesives and sealants

Direct-handling of these products was not the only way veterans came into contact with asbestos. Some veterans suffered secondary asbestos exposure from being in the vicinity of airborne asbestos fibers.

Working with Accredited Attorneys and Agents

Understanding and filing an asbestos-related VA claim can be tricky. If done improperly, you may miss out on compensation or benefits that you are entitled to. The VA recommends that all veterans work with an experienced attorney or an accredited claims agent to ensure they get the benefits they deserve.

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Vast experience handling mesothelioma cases. We fight on behalf of patients, demanding justice from negligent asbestos companies.

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Types of VA Benefits for Veterans

VA benefits help veterans pay for many different types of care. For example, you may be able to receive low-cost medical care or financial compensation for lost wages. The VA will carefully assess your claim to determine whether or not you qualify for certain benefits.

Disability Compensation

Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly compensation that provides guaranteed income supplements to veterans. You can receive disability compensation if you became disabled due to military asbestos exposure. The VA will determine your compensation amount based on the severity of your disease and how your condition is expected to progress.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is paid to surviving spouses and dependent children of military veterans who died from military-related asbestos exposure. If you’re the surviving spouse or child of someone who died from an asbestos-related disease, you may be able to get this tax-free monetary benefit.

Aid and Attendance

Veterans who are housebound due to a permanent disability can receive additional monthly compensation. Aid and Attendance benefits are tax-free monthly payments to help you cover the costs of in-home nurse care or assistance with your daily living tasks.

Additional Benefits

Veterans may also qualify for other benefits. For example, VA burial benefits can help family members cover the costs of a funeral or memorial service for their loved one. Veterans with asbestos-related disorders may also get special compensation for extensive medical treatment and hospitalization.

Get Help Filing Your Claim

 Filing a VA benefits claim can be a complex process. Working with an attorney or accredited claims agent is the best way to successfully file your claim and start receiving compensation sooner.

Status of Your VA Claim

It takes an average of 111 days for the VA to process a disability claim. The amount of time it takes will depend on the type of claim you filed, how complex your illness is and how much evidence you provide to support your claim.

With the help of an attorney, you can avoid any problems that will delay your claim so you can access your benefits as soon as possible.

Working With a Mesothelioma Law Firm

Veterans can also file legal claims to seek additional compensation for medical costs and other expenses. However, it’s important to know that military veterans cannot sue the United States government or their specific military branch for asbestos-related disabilities.

That said, there is nothing preventing veterans from collecting VA benefits while pursuing or receiving compensation from other sources like asbestos trust funds, personal injury lawsuits or wrongful death claims. It’s recommended that veterans with asbestos-related disabilities retain legal representation to help them receive their rightful compensation.

Law firms experienced in asbestos litigation work to help their clients get the maximum compensation available.

Access Asbestos Trust Funds

Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages are available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Mesothelioma patients exposed to asbestos may qualify.

Find Out If You Qualify

Start Your VA Claim Today

Filing claims can be a stressful and confusing process for many veterans, especially those already ill. Retaining an attorney with experience in asbestos cases will help you get the maximum compensation possible.

Contact our Justice Support Team today to get started on your VA claim and learn more about your compensation options.

Author:Stephanie Kidd

Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Justice Network

Stephanie Kidd

Stephanie Kidd works tirelessly as a dedicated advocate for the vulnerable and underrepresented. Stephanie worked as a copywriter for an agency whose focus was communicating safety procedures on construction work sites. With her extensive background in victim advocacy and a dedication to seeing justice done, Stephanie works hard to ensure that all online content is reliable, truthful and helpful.

Last modified: July 1, 2019

View 6 Sources
  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2001, Sept.) Asbestos. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts61.pdf.
  2. Military.com. (n.d.). Asbestos Illness Related to Military Service. Retrieved from https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/asbestos-and-the-military-history-exposure-assistance.html.
  3. Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. (n.d.). I am a Veteran. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/opa/persona/index.asp.
  4. The VA Claim Process After You File Your Claim. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/disability/after-you-file-claim/.
  5. VA Disability Compensation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/disability/.
  6. Veterans Asbestos Exposure. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp.
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