Mesothelioma VA Benefits
Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos during military service have the right to seek benefits through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For some, however, actually getting those benefits can be difficult.
To obtain these benefits, veterans who develop mesothelioma must convince the VA that the majority of their asbestos exposure occurred during military service. Because the disease takes 10 to 45 (or more) years to develop, this can be challenging. Even if the VA concedes your military exposure, they still recognize that you may have transitioned into a civilian job that exposed you to more asbestos than you experienced in the military. As such, veterans are encouraged to seek the professional advice and assistance of a Veteran Service Representative who can assist them in writing a detailed exposure summary to convince the VA that their asbestos disease is service-related.
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Who Is Eligible for VA Benefits?
Generally, service members who have been discharged from the military with all but a dishonorable discharge are eligible for VA benefits. This includes members of the Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army, Coast Guard, WWII Merchant Marine Sailors, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Public Health Service and Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA).
The veteran must provide sufficient information to convince the VA that at least 50%, or more, of their exposure occurred in the military. To do this, veterans must provide information that includes a civilian and military work history and an exposure summary that details where and when the veteran served and how he/she was exposed to asbestos…and to what degree. This can be a difficult task and requires the assistance of a highly experienced claims agent familiar with the Asbestos Approval Criteria at the VA.
VA Claim Assistance
- A key to getting a successful disability claim is writing a detailed exposure summary. We can help by assisting the veteran in identifying military exposures to asbestos and in writing the veteran’s exposure summary.
- We can provide you assistance in filling out all the correct forms and make sure that you are providing all necessary supporting documentation to ensure your claim is processed in the most expeditious manner possible.
- If you’ve already been denied on a previously submitted claim, don’t give up hope. We can review your claim to determine where it went wrong, and assist you in filing an appeal.
- If you’ve started the paperwork and are overwhelmed and confused, we can help. Our extensive knowledge of VA documentation can help alleviate your stress and make the process smooth and worry free.
Health Care and Benefits
Veterans with Mesothelioma have several VA benefits available to them:
- Disability Compensation - For veterans with service related mesothelioma, disability compensation is the primary means of compensation through the VA system. This tax-free monthly compensation is determined by the veteran’s level of disability on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most disabled. Mesothelioma and asbestos cancer warrants a 100 percent disability rating. The benefits begin at $2,858 a month and increase with the number of dependents. The amount is not based on income levels or assets.
- VA Pension – Totally disabled veterans can receive VA Pension when their mesothelioma was not caused by their military service. If a veteran spent at least one day on active duty during a period of war, they can receive VA Pension if they meet the VA’s income limits. These limits vary depending on whether the veteran is married, and whether he is either housebound or in need of Aid & Attendance.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) -This is a tax-free monthly compensation paid to the surviving spouse or dependent child of veterans who died as a result of a service-related disability. Mesothelioma would qualify as a service-related disability if at least 50% of the asbestos exposure occurred during military service.<./li>
- VA Health Care - Veterans with mesothelioma have access to some of the best medical professionals in the country. Once approved for VA healthcare, there are more than 1,400 treatment sites nationwide with some of the best mesothelioma doctors. Those include Drs. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal of the Boston VA and Robert Cameron of the West Los Angeles (California) Medical Center. For asbestos-cancer patients, there is usually no charge for treatment. Coverage includes hospitalization, prescription medications, outpatient services, and medical procedures such as surgery and chemotherapy. Having other insurance does not affect eligibility for VA healthcare benefits.
Military.com. VA Health Care: Cost and Co-payments. Retrieved from http://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/va-health-care-cost-and-copayments.htm
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Compensation. Retrieved from http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/