Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
Why File a Mesothelioma VA Claim?
Veterans with mesothelioma, or any disease that military asbestos exposure caused, may be eligible for a variety of veterans benefits. This includes VA disability compensation and VA health care.
Disability compensation is usually paid monthly. A veteran’s disability level, which is interpreted on a percentage scale, determines the amount of compensation. Mesothelioma and other cancers automatically grant a 100% disability rating.
Neither age nor household income affect a veteran’s eligibility for disability compensation. Disability compensation is paid tax-free.
An approved VA disability claim also grants veterans access to free cancer treatment through the VA health care system. Veterans receiving disability compensation are not required to receive mesothelioma treatment at a VA hospital.
Asbestos Diseases the VA Recognizes:
- Lung cancer
- Bronchus cancer
- Gastrointestinal tract cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Pharynx cancer
- Urogenital cancers (except prostate)
- Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
- Pleural effusion
- Pleural plaques
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in discussing its VA mesothelioma benefits also notes that these asbestos-related recognized conditions may impact veterans from all branches and multiple periods of service. The VA particularly notes that veterans who served in Iraq, other countries within the Middle East and Southeast Asia may have been exposed to asbestos in damaged older buildings and in the daily tasks of military occupations such as vehicle repair and construction.
Eligibility for VA Benefits
To receive veterans benefits based on asbestos exposure, you must meet the following criteria:
- Veteran Status: You were honorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. military or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), formerly known as the Environmental Science Services Administration.
- Medical Diagnosis: You can provide medical records from a hospital or doctor that confirm you have an asbestos-related illness.
- Exposure History: You can provide a written asbestos exposure summary and other evidence proving that at least 50% of your lifetime asbestos exposure occurred while you were in the military.
Your income level will not impact your eligibility for VA disability compensation. (VA Pension is the benefit that income level affects.) If the VA considers your mesothelioma diagnosis service-connected, you will be eligible for 100% disability compensation regardless of your income level.
If you file a traditional VA claim, it becomes the VA’s responsibility to gather all the necessary paperwork. This process is slow, usually taking around eight months.
You can expedite the decision by submitting all the required supporting documentation with the original claim. The VA calls this a fully developed claim, and it typically takes around four months to process. An accredited claims agent can help you put together a fully developed claim.
How Can Veterans File a Mesothelioma VA Claim?
The most important factor when filing a successful VA mesothelioma claim is knowing how to write it, how to cut through the red tape and how to avoid the pitfalls that often lead to disappointing results.
For assistance in filing for VA benefits, or if you just need some advice, contact our Veterans Department. One of our representatives will be there to assist you. They can send you an informational packet designed for veterans or chat with you on the phone.
As director of the Veterans Department, Munz is trained and accredited to help other veterans navigate the often complicated VA disability claims process.
Working with a VA-accredited claims agent maximizes the chances of having a claim approved quickly, and it removes much of the frustration and anxiety that comes with dealing directly with the VA.
The Veterans Department at The Mesothelioma Center doesn’t work for the VA or for any other government agency. As a patient advocacy organization, we are happy to provide this service to veterans free of charge.
Asbestos Diseases Qualified for VA Claims
The disability claim process is slightly different for the various types of asbestos-related diseases the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes.
The VA recognizes pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma as 100% disabling. Because only asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, which was prevalent during 20th century military life, less documentation is required for these cases.
However, the VA will recognize mesothelioma as a service-connected disability only if the majority of the veteran’s asbestos exposure occurred during active duty.
Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer and Gastrointestinal Cancers
Although lung cancer and several types of gastrointestinal cancer are linked to asbestos exposure, these diseases also have other potential causes such as smoking, hereditary factors and exposure to other dangerous substances.
To get the VA to approve these types of cancer as service-related conditions, veterans must provide medical documentation that convinces the VA that asbestos caused their cancer. Asbestos exposure must be as likely to be the cause as all other potential causes combined.
Asbestosis and Other Noncancerous Asbestos Diseases
For asbestosis or another noncancerous asbestos disease, the VA has to verify it is service connected and judge how much the illness affects the veteran’s ability to work.
The VA rates noncancerous asbestos illnesses based on several criteria, including the results of pulmonary function testing. This can result in a disability rating anywhere between 10% and 100%.
Other Types of VA Compensation
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
Commonly known as DIC, this monthly benefit is available to the surviving spouse of a veteran whose service-connected disability caused their death. The monthly benefit starts at about $1,300.
A spouse needs to file a DIC claim even if their loved one was receiving disability compensation for mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease prior to their death.
If a veteran was not receiving VA compensation, a surviving spouse may apply for DIC. They must submit information documenting the service-related asbestos exposure.
VA Aid and Attendance Benefits
Also known as Special Monthly Compensation, this benefit is paid to veterans who are housebound, bedridden or disabled to a degree that they require the aid and attendance of someone else. This compensation is also available to spouses and parents of veterans.
The amount of special monthly compensation someone receives depends on how much aid and attendance they require. The benefit usually runs from $250 to $650 a month.
VA Health Care Services
Doctors who specialize in asbestos-related cancer serve the VA treatment centers in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. The VA can help veterans travel for treatment when necessary.
Even if a veteran’s cancer is not connected to service, they may still be eligible for low-cost treatment through the VA system.
Additional VA Programs and Benefits
The VA offers other programs and benefits for veterans with mesothelioma and their loved ones.
- VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Services: The VA offers a variety of services for older veterans to improve their overall health and quality of life and provide options for long-term care.
- VA Caregiver Benefits: This program became available to veterans with mesothelioma and their caregivers in 2021. It provides a monthly stipend, caregiver training, respite care, mental health care and more.
- VA Fiduciary Program: Veterans who would benefit from a loved one handling their finances and VA benefits may elect a fiduciary to oversee and optimize these matters.
- VA Pension Benefits: Wartime veterans and their surviving spouses with low income may qualify for monthly compensation through the VA Pension Program.
Common Questions About Filing an Asbestos-Related VA Claim
- What do I need to know about filing a VA claim for mesothelioma?
Veterans can get help filing a VA claim immediately by speaking with a VA-Accredited Claims Agent. The Mesothelioma Center offers this free service to help veterans correctly fill out their paperwork; get their claim approved, even if a previous one was denied; and receive compensation.
- What expenses can be covered by a VA claim?
Once a VA claim is approved, veterans can use the compensation to cover any expense, including medical bills, travel costs, home caregiving and other expenses.
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