Types of VA Benefits
VA benefits help veterans with mesothelioma 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.
Aid and Attendance (A&A)
Veterans who require in-home care due to a permanent disability can receive additional monthly compensation.
A&A benefits are tax-free monthly payments to help veterans cover the costs of in-home nurse care or assistance with daily living tasks.
Veterans managing mesothelioma symptoms or recovering from a mesothelioma treatment may have difficulties caring for themselves and their homes. They may have to spend a large portion of the day in bed and have limited mobility, shortness of breath, or pain.
These physical symptoms may make it difficult for veterans to feed, bathe, or dress themselves. Veterans experiencing mesothelioma symptoms may also find it difficult to complete cleaning and maintenance tasks around their home.
A&A benefits can pay for monthly in-home nurse care or services to support veterans with daily household activities.
Spouses of veterans are also eligible to qualify for A&A benefits if they are interested in providing in-home care themselves.
Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly compensation benefit that provides guaranteed income supplements to veterans. Veterans can receive this benefit if they became disabled due to service-related asbestos exposure.
The VA will determine if a veteran can receive disability benefits — and if so, how much — based on the severity of their disease and how their condition is expected to progress.
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) is paid to surviving spouses and dependent children of military veterans who died from military-related asbestos exposure.
Veterans can learn more about this tax-free benefit by speaking with a VA accredited claims agent.
If you previously applied for VA DIC benefits connected to a Blue Water Navy vessel and were denied, the recent Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 may deem you eligible for VA DIC benefits. Parents of deceased military veterans may also be eligible.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Network can help victims and their survivors determine if they may be eligible for VA DIC benefits and other types of financial compensation.
Funeral & Burial Benefits
VA funeral and burial benefits can help veterans and their loved ones plan for a burial or memorial service at a VA national cemetery and help cover the costs associated with funerals and memorial items.
When planning for a burial of a veteran, families can apply for certain memorial items — including headstones, markers, medallions, burial flags, and engraved presidential memorial certificates — to be made to honor their loved one.
Eligible spouses and family members buried in national or military cemeteries may also qualify for monetary support for a marker or headstone.
Veterans who spend the majority of their time at home due to an illness or disability may be eligible for a tax-free benefit called VA housebound benefits.
A veteran is not eligible for both A&A and housebound benefits at the same time.
Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma or recovering from mesothelioma treatment or surgery may not have energy to leave their homes. Mesothelioma symptoms or treatment side-effects may also force veterans to spend most of their time in bed resting.
Veterans may be eligible for VA housebound benefits if their mesothelioma is causing them to spend the majority of their time at home.
VA pensions are tax-free monthly benefits that disabled veterans may be eligible for in addition to other regular income sources.
Not all veterans are eligible for VA pensions — certain eligibility requirements must be met.
To be eligible for a VA pension, a veteran must:
- Be older than 65
- Receive in-home nursing care
- Be permanently disabled
- Receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Veterans should speak to a VA-accredited Claims Agent to learn more about these requirements and how they impact VA pensions.
VA pensions can be very beneficial for those suffering from diseases caused by their military service — including mesothelioma. This monthly payment can help cover health care costs.
If a veteran with mesothelioma passes, their loved ones may be entitled to receive what is called the VA survivors pension.
The veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged in order for their dependents to receive the VA survivors pension.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
SMC is a tax-free benefit paid on top of regular VA disability compensation.
Veterans who have incurred the loss or loss of use of specific extremities or organs as a result of military service may be eligible for SMC.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during their military service may be eligible for SMC.
In certain cases, mesothelioma surgery or the disease progression could result in the removal or loss of use of specific organs — such as a lung. Eligible veterans can use SMC payments to help pay for medical bills or in-home care.
VA Health Care
VA health care provides veterans with mesothelioma access to treatments from top mesothelioma specialists who work at VA hospitals.
These doctors — including Dr. Robert Cameron and Dr. Avi Lebenthal — can recommend and administer treatments designed specifically for patients with asbestos-related illnesses.
Veterans must also meet specific requirements to be eligible to receive VA health care benefits.
For example, the veteran must have served for at least 24 months or the full period they were called to serve. This is the case for veterans who enlisted after September 7th, 1980 or entered active duty after October 16th, 1981.
These requirements may be waived if the veteran was discharged early for a family hardship, a disability that was caused or made worse by active duty, or received an “early out.”
Additionally, members of the National Guard or FederalReserves must have been on active duty (not for training purposes) to qualify for this benefit.