Mesothelioma and Army Veterans

Quick Summary

The United States Army and all other military branches relied on asbestos-based products between the 1930s and early 1980s. Unfortunately, it’s now known that people exposed to asbestos can develop a deadly cancer called mesothelioma 20-50 years later. Thankfully, U.S. Army veterans with mesothelioma often qualify for health care benefits and financial compensation.

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Benefits for Army Veterans With Mesothelioma

Army veterans are at risk of mesothelioma since all branches of the U.S. military used asbestos-based products for decades.

An elderly vietnam veteran puts his hand on the shoulder on a veteran who served in both World War II and Korea

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of this cancer. Companies that made asbestos-based products knew the risks but hid them to make a profit.

Thousands of Army mesothelioma cases stem from active-duty asbestos exposure.

Thankfully, veterans with mesothelioma and their families can get benefits and financial aid to cover costs that stem from a diagnosis. Veterans can access benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as other avenues.

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  • Compensation
  • Support Services
  • Living Expenses

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VA Financial Benefits and Compensation

Once the risks of asbestos became known, the VA began offering benefits so veterans with mesothelioma could get medical and financial support.

The VA has several financial benefits to help Army veterans cover the costs that a mesothelioma diagnosis brings. Eligible veterans can often access over $3,500 a month or more from the VA.

$3,500+
VA Disability Compensation
*monthly payment for eligible veterans

Army mesothelioma VA benefits can help veterans afford:

  • In-home caregiving services
  • Medical treatments and medications
  • Mortgages and other living expenses
  • Other costs follow a cancer diagnosis

Veterans can apply for VA benefits by working with a VA-accredited representative, such as a lawyer.

Other Benefits for Army Veterans With Mesothelioma

Army veterans can pursue financial benefits from other sources besides the VA.

These include:

  • Asbestos Trust Funds: Some asbestos companies declared bankruptcy after facing a large amount of mesothelioma lawsuits. Bankrupt companies can’t be sued but U.S. courts ordered them to put money aside in trusts so victims would still get paid. Over $30 billion is currently available through asbestos trust funds.
  • Legal Claims: Veterans can file legal claims (aka lawsuits) to get money. Mesothelioma lawsuits award $1 million on average. Lawsuits and legal claims are filed against the makers of asbestos products — the Army and other military branches are not sued. The process is stress-free when veterans work with experienced mesothelioma lawyers.

Access benefits with help from a mesothelioma lawyer. Get started now.

How Did the Army Use Asbestos?

The Army and other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces used asbestos as an insulation and fireproofing substance on buildings, ships, planes, weapons systems, and equipment.

Asbestos-based products used by the military include:

  • Brake pads
  • Cement foundation
  • Clutch plates
  • Flooring and ceiling tiles
  • Gaskets
  • Gloves and fireproof suits
  • Insulation
  • Pipes
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing materials

Any of these products may have exposed Army veterans to asbestos and caused them to develop mesothelioma.

Veterans who have mesothelioma but are unsure how or where they were exposed to asbestos can speak with a VA-accredited claims agent (who can help veterans get VA benefits) or a mesothelioma lawyer.

Lawyers and VA claims agents can help veterans look through their military service history and find out how they were exposed.

Army Jobs With Asbestos Exposure Risk

Anyone serving on an Army base may have come in contact with asbestos, but some jobs carried a higher risk.

For example, mechanics and construction workers generally had a greater risk of asbestos exposure. They had to work with asbestos products like insulation, cement, and brake pads on a daily basis.

Other high-risk Army jobs included:

  • Carpentry
  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Mill work
  • Mine work
  • Shipyard work

Army Barracks and Other Buildings

Soldiers living in Army bases and other buildings may have come in contact with asbestos. Many Army structures relied on asbestos-containing products for decades.

In fact, almost every building made by the military before the late 1970s contained asbestos.

Asbestos in Army barracks could be found in:

  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Cement sheet
  • Electrical wiring
  • Insulation
  • Pipes
  • Plumbing
  • Siding

Military bases were not the only structures with a high risk of asbestos exposure. The use of asbestos was also common in other buildings, such as mess halls and office spaces.

Army Vehicles

Almost all Army vehicles built prior to the early 1980s contained asbestos, including ambulances, buses, jeeps, and tanks.

A black and white photo of an Army truck

Asbestos was used in the following vehicle parts:

  • Brake pads
  • Clutches
  • Gaskets
  • Heating systems

Without asbestos, vehicle parts could expand and break down if exposed to heat. However, removing or repairing car parts made with asbestos could send tiny fibers flying into the air. This led to many cases of mesothelioma in Army mechanics.

Army Construction Sites

Army veterans who worked in construction or demolition were at high risk of asbestos exposure.

Any time asbestos-containing construction materials (like insulation, pipes, or tiles) were disturbed, those nearby were put at risk of inhaling the airborne fibers.

Asbestos exposure could happen during the construction of new buildings and the repair or demolition of old ones.

Mesothelioma and Army Risks in 21st Century

The Army stopped using asbestos in the 1980s and began removing and replacing most asbestos-based products. However, the risks of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma among Army veterans haven’t fully gone away even today.

For example, Army personnel serving in the Middle East and South Asia may have inhaled asbestos fibers if older buildings that contained asbestos were blown up or damaged.

Further, older buildings on Army bases may still contain asbestos. For example, Fort Campbell finally demolished several asbestos-containing buildings that dated back to World War II in 2021. A planner on the project said the buildings were “just unsafe to be in” since they used asbestos.

Secondhand Asbestos Exposure Risks in Army Families

The dangers of asbestos exposure were not limited to Army soldiers. Their family members were often put at risk as well if they lived on Army bases.

Soldiers could bring home stray asbestos fibers that stuck to their hair or clothes after a day’s work, exposing loved ones in the process.

Family members were also at risk of breathing in or swallowing airborne fibers disturbed during construction projects or renovations on Army bases.

Medical Treatments for Mesothelioma Army Cases

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that requires urgent medical care. Thankfully, the VA is well-equipped to treat cases of mesothelioma in Army veterans.

Thanks to VA Health Care, medical treatment for mesothelioma Army cases is often free or not expensive. Top mesothelioma doctors work with the VA Health Care System to treat veterans.

Doctors that treat mesothelioma Army cases include:

  • Dr. Avi Lebenthal

    A surgeon whose team treats 300 mesothelioma patients each year at the Boston VA Hospital. He also treats civilian patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

  • Dr. Robert Cameron

    A surgeon who works at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. Dr. Cameron has developed breakthrough treatment options to help patients live longer.

    Visit the UCLA Health website to learn more about Dr. Robert Cameron.

Disclaimer

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.

Veterans can apply for VA Health Care and other benefits right now by working with Eric Hall, a fellow veteran and VA-accredited lawyer.

Get Help Filing for Mesothelioma Army VA Benefits

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos while serving in the Army, you may be eligible to file a VA benefits claim. VA benefits and compensation can provide peace of mind for you and your family.

Filing a VA claim can seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to go it alone. Our VA Support Team — including U.S. veteran Eric Hall and on-staff nurses — can walk you through the process.

We can help you:

  • File for Army mesothelioma VA benefits
  • Find top doctors and medical care near you
  • Work with a mesothelioma law firm
  • Get all the benefits and financial compensation you deserve

Connect with our team now to get help filing for VA benefits and other forms of compensation.

Questions About the Army and Mesothelioma

Why do Army veterans get mesothelioma?

Army veterans are at risk of mesothelioma since companies sold asbestos-containing materials to the military without saying they were dangerous.

When asbestos materials are worn or damaged, fibers are released into the air. Those nearby can inhale or swallow them.

The asbestos fibers can then get lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or other organs and irritate them for decades. This causes asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma 20-50 years after someone was first exposed.

By the time the risks of asbestos became widely known, thousands of Army service members had already been exposed.

Can you claim Army VA benefits for mesothelioma?

Yes. If you were exposed to asbestos in the Army and later developed mesothelioma, you may qualify for VA benefits. These benefits include monthly compensation (usually worth $3,500 or more) as well as free or low-cost medical care.

Further, you can pursue VA benefits if you developed other asbestos-related diseases like asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis from military service.

You may also qualify for mesothelioma Army benefits if your loved one passed away from mesothelioma. These benefits can help you pay for funeral services and any leftover medical expenses.

File for Army mesothelioma benefits now.

How much is mesothelioma Army compensation?

Veterans can usually receive $1 million in Army mesothelioma compensation through legal claims.

No legal action is taken against the military. Instead, legal claims can force the makers of asbestos-based products to pay for causing a veteran’s illness.

Further, veterans can apply for VA mesothelioma Army benefits that usually award $3,500 a month.

Is asbestos still used in the military?

The Army and all other branches of the military stopped using asbestos in new bases, ships, and vehicles in the early 1980s once the health risks became widely known. The military also took steps to remove dangerous asbestos-based products.

That said, some older military buildings and ships may still have asbestos in them even today.

Contact our team if you worked with asbestos in the Army and now have mesothelioma. VA benefits and compensation may be available.

Veterans Support Team
Eric P.W. Hall (Capt RIANG) PhotoReviewed by:Eric P.W. Hall (Capt RIANG)

VA-Accredited Attorney

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Editor

Eric P.W. Hall (Capt RIANG) is an attorney, a former Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and a legal advisor at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center. Today, Eric continues to serve as a Captain in the Rhode Island Air National Guard where he is Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, upholding his dedication to his country and fellow veterans. Eric considers it his duty to help his veteran family and strives to help them navigate the VA and receive the benefits they so bravely earned.

Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 9 Sources
  1. Office of Public Health, Department of Veterans Affairs (2013). Exposure to Asbestos: A Resource for Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from https://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/education/factsheets/asbestos-exposure.pdf
  2. Steinquest, E. (n.d.). Sapper Eagles join DPW to remove Fort Campbell World War II Wood. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://www.dvidshub.net/news/401526/sapper-eagles-join-dpw-remove-fort-campbell-world-war-ii-wood
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Developing Claims for Service Connection (SC) Based on Other Exposure Types. Retrieved from https://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 1, Section 1. “Developing Claims for Service Connection (SC) Based on Other Exposure Types.”
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2014, December 08). VA Boston Healthcare System: Asbestos and Mesothelioma. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.boston.va.gov/services/surgical/Asbestos_and_Mesothelioma.asp
  6. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Compensation - Asbestos Exposure. Retrieved September 27, 2017 from https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp.
  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Veterans Asbestos Exposure. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/
  8. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Health Administration. (2013). Public Health - Military Exposures. Retrieved June 22nd, 2019 from https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/benefits/index.asp
  9. War Related Illness and Injury Study Center. Office of Public Health. Department of Veterans Affairs. Exposure to Asbestos: A Resource for Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. Retrieved September 27, 2017 from https://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/education/factsheets/asbestos-exposure.pdf.
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