Written By: Aaron Munz, Last modified: March 25, 2021

Veterans with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases face two challenges in getting the health care and compensation they need. First, there is the rare and complex nature of asbestos-related diseases, and second, there is the complicated process of filing for VA benefits.

To ensure we can assist those who need and deserve it the most, we built on The Mesothelioma Center’s medical and legal expertise by creating the Veterans Department. The Patient Advocates of this department have personal experience navigating the VA benefits system, and they are professionally trained and certified to represent VA claimants.

The approval process for asbestos-related VA benefits can be daunting, but our team is well versed in the complex process of identifying where service-related asbestos exposure occurred, filing a claim with the VA, and preparing any appeals that may be necessary.

Our Veterans Department can help you:

  • Gather and correctly file VA paperwork
  • File your VA benefits claim
  • Present detailed asbestos exposure summaries
  • File for disability compensation
  • Proceed with previously denied VA benefits claims
  • File for survivor benefits and survivors pension

Rely on a VA-Accredited Claims Agent

By law, only a VA-accredited agent can legally represent a veteran or a surviving dependent to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The formal accreditation process involves three requirements.

  1. The agent must pass an exam to prove they have a comprehensive understanding of VA benefits.
  2. The agent must pass a background check and provide personal references supporting their good moral character.
  3. The agent must meet a continuing education requirement every year to ensure they keep their knowledge of VA benefits up to date.

Most individuals who apply for VA accreditation work for local governments or veterans organizations. The advantage of working with the Veterans Department of The Mesothelioma Center is that our Patient Advocates are also knowledgeable about asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illnesses, which few other claims agents are familiar with.

John Conway
Retired Navy Chief diagnosed in 2012

Asbestos.com helped us with getting through the red tape at the VA and getting the necessary forms for us. We would probably still be battling without their help.

Meet Our Veterans Department

Aaron Munz, director of the Veterans Department at The Mesothelioma Center
Aaron Munz
Director of Veterans Department

Former U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Munz served nine years in leadership, combat and strategic training roles before leaving active duty in 2006. His military experience helped him secure accreditation as an official VA Claims Agent.

During the first few years of his Army career, he served as a tank platoon commander, a parachute repair company platoon leader and an assistant operations officer for an armor unit. After being deployed to Baghdad for Operation Iraqi Freedom, he led more than 300 combat operations, including rescue missions under intense enemy fire, and he was awarded the Bronze Star. He also became a senior advisor to an Iraqi city council in Aqar Quf, assisting with economic development projects.

Munz spent the final years of his active duty service as an information operations trainer at the Fort Irwin National Training Center. After leaving the Army, he obtained a master’s degree and spent time as a manager at Caterpillar Inc. and then as a middle school teacher before joining The Mesothelioma Center in 2015. Now he uses his experience to help fellow veterans understand VA benefits and file asbestos-related claims.

His expertise in the military’s use of asbestos is invaluable to anyone filing an asbestos-related disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is extremely knowledgeable of the vast number of asbestos-containing products the military used in the construction and maintenance of ships, planes, living quarters and work facilities.

Danielle DiPietro, Patient Advocate and VA-Accredited Claims Agent at the Mesothelioma Center

Danielle DiPietro originally joined the Public Outreach Department of The Mesothelioma Center after she finished her marketing degree in 2012. Her personal experiences helping veterans understand their VA benefits inspired her to move to the Veterans Department.

Both of her grandfathers served in the U.S. Army, and they came to rely on DiPietro to help them understand what VA resources are available to them. Because of her family history, she had a head start when she sought VA accreditation, and she empathizes with veterans and their families.

DiPietro also has personal experience with the challenges that surround a cancer diagnosis. She lost two uncles under the age of 55 to cancer, and she believes access to specialized care and support could have led to better outcomes for them. For this reason, she is committed to The Mesothelioma Center’s mission to advocate for patients with asbestos-related diseases and help them obtain all the resources available to them.

In addition, DiPietro serves as a liaison for the Veterans Outreach Program. She communicates with Veterans Service Organizations and officers across the country to raise awareness of veterans’ elevated risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.


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