Mesothelioma Veterans Benefits Offered by the VA
Many of the people who suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-caused lung cancer, or another disease related to asbestos exposure were exposed to toxic levels of asbestos during their military service. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you are a veteran, you could be eligible for mesothelioma veterans benefits and disability.
Avenues of Asbestos Exposure in the Armed Forces
From the 1930s through the 1990s, the US Armed Forces used large quantities of asbestos in its facilities. Service members involved in building construction, renovation, or demolition are particularly likely to have encountered harmful levels of asbestos. Pipe fitters, welders, those involved in vehicle repair, and boiler operators also bear special burdens of risk.
Vietnam veterans have developed mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases because the material was widely used in construction and transportation during that conflict. Veterans who served in more recent wars in the Middle East may also have been exposed to asbestos through toxic particulate matter released by burning materials and desert dust containing unknown contaminants. Because mesothelioma can take as much as 50 years to manifest, there may be many more veterans affected in the years to come.
While service members may have been exposed to asbestos in any branch of the military, veterans of the US Navy – may be the most likely to have come into contact with toxic levels of asbestos. Navy personnel may have encountered asbestos on many types of vessels and in many different locations, particularly:
- Ship Construction: If you worked in a naval shipyard between the 1930s and the 1990s, you are likely to have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, as the mineral was used in many areas of ship construction.
- Shipside: The atmosphere below decks in Navy vessels, at least until the 1990s, may have been contaminated with asbestos due to inadequate ventilation. Crew members were also exposed to airborne asbestos fibers if they removed, repaired, or otherwise handled materials containing asbestos in the engine rooms.
- Onboard: Any personnel who served on ships with keels laid before 1983 may have been exposed to asbestos, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Because of the amount of asbestos exposure military personnel received, particularly those who served before 1990, it’s a good idea to have regular checkups and monitor your lung health for early signs of mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve your prognosis if you do become ill with mesothelioma.
Establishing the Connection Between Your Service and Mesothelioma
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may have been exposed to asbestos in more than one place throughout your life, including during your military service. It is impossible to determine exactly which exposure is responsible for your illness. Most people with mesothelioma pursue multiple avenues to receive the compensation they deserve. This can include a lawsuit against manufacturers, suppliers, installers, distributors as well as filing claims with asbestos bankruptcy trusts, and filing a claim with the Veterans Administration.
To establish the connection between your time in the armed forces and your illness, you will need to document the times and places where you served and the duties you performed, as well as your age at the time of service. The length of time you were exposed to asbestos during your military service is one of the factors the VA will look at in determining your eligibility for benefits and disability. In addition, the younger you were when you were exposed to asbestos, the greater your chances of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases.
An experienced asbestos attorney can help you put the facts together and build your case in court and versus the asbestos trusts. Most asbestos lawyers will assist you on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay any money up front for their assistance. It can be helpful to have an ally who has been through the process many times, to work with you to build a successful claim. Kazan Law has a decades-long track record of helping clients get the mesothelioma benefits they deserve. In addition, the work they perform can be used by you to acquire additional benefits through the Veterans Administration.
Mesothelioma Veterans Benefits from the Veterans Administration
The Veterans Administration (VA) provides health and disability benefits to veterans who are ill and/or disabled due to their military service, as long as they received an honorable discharge.
Once you have established that your military service is a likely source of the asbestos exposure that caused your mesothelioma, you can receive treatment at any VA healthcare facility. The VA has healthcare facilities in all 50 states and several US territories. You will also be eligible to travel to receive treatment from mesothelioma specialists working at VA hospitals.
If the majority of your asbestos exposure occurred during your military service, you may be able to collect disability. The VA considers veterans with mesothelioma to be 100% disabled. This can be a crucial support for you and your family during a stressful time.
The amount of your disability payment will depend on whether you are single or married and whether or not you have dependents. For those with 100% disability, monthly payments start at $2,906.83. For more information on VA disability payments and rates, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-disability.asp.