Hundreds of thousands of military members were exposed to asbestos during their service, causing high rates of mesothelioma among veterans. Mesothelioma symptoms don't appear until 20-50 years after a person has been exposed to asbestos, meaning veterans who served up until the 1980s are at risk today. Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for various VA benefits, including VA health care and VA disability compensation.
VA Benefits for Veterans With Mesothelioma
Due to the military’s widespread asbestos use between the 1930s and early 1980s, veterans today have higher rates of mesothelioma than the general population.
Once praised for its fireproofing and insulation capabilities, asbestos is now known to cause deadly diseases like mesothelioma. Manufacturers of asbestos-based products knew these dangers for decades but hid the truth from the military — after thousands of service members had already been exposed.
If you served in the military and now suffer from an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma, you may qualify for various forms of monetary and health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Find information about VA benefits and how to access them below.
VA Disability Compensation
VA disability compensation provides tax-free monthly payments to veterans who developed mesothelioma or another disability from their military service. This benefit pays out over $3,000 each month, and more money may be available if you are married and/or have dependent children.
In order to receive disability compensation, you must have proof of diagnosis (such as a note from a physician) and show that you worked around asbestos during your military service. Our team of VA-accredited attorneys is available to help determine exactly how you were exposed and file your claim on your behalf.
VA Pensions provide monthly payments to veterans with lower income. You may be able to receive a VA Pension if you meet a certain income limit and other criteria.
If you served before September 8, 1980, you need to have logged at least 90 days of active duty with at least 1 day during wartime to qualify for a VA Pension. If you served after September 7, 1980, you must have served two full years or your full period of active duty, with at least 1 day of service during wartime.
You must also meet the qualifying annual family income limit of $129,094 (as of December 1, 2019).
Finally, you must meet at least 1 of the following VA pension requirements:
- Reside in a nursing home and receiving skilled nursing care
- Be older than 65
- Be permanently disabled
- Receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
To see if you qualify, reach out to our team of Patient Advocates and VA-accredited attorneys.
VA Health Care System
Through the VA Health Care System, you can receive free or low-cost medical treatment from some of the world’s top mesothelioma doctors. The VA may cover your travel expenses to see a mesothelioma specialist in Los Angeles or Boston if you live far away from these locations.
Top VA mesothelioma doctors include:
Dr. Lebenthal is a veteran of the Israeli army and cares for veterans at the Boston VA Hospital.
Dr. Cameron has decades of experience treating mesothelioma patients. Today he treats veterans at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.
The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Robert B. Cameron. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Cameron directly.