Veterans and civilians who develop malignant mesothelioma deserve high-quality health care and financial compensation. Fortunately, there are dozens of medical and financial resources that mesothelioma patients can access. Veterans with mesothelioma can also find exclusive resources through the VA. Explore some of the top mesothelioma resources below.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) understands that veterans have a higher risk of mesothelioma due to widespread military asbestos use between the 1930s and 1980s. To that end, veterans with mesothelioma can receive both medical and financial VA benefits.
You may be able to access these resources by filing a VA claim.
- VA Disability Claims
- Survivor Benefits
- Finding Veteran Doctors
VA Health Care for Mesothelioma
Through the VA Health Care System, veterans can work with top doctors to get an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis and receive the best treatments available. These medical services often come at little to no cost to the veteran.
VA hospitals employ some of the world’s best mesothelioma doctors, including Dr. Robert Cameron and Dr. Avi Lebenthal. Veterans can receive treatment for both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma through the VA.
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.
Local VA Mesothelioma Treatment Options
As of 2020, there are only three mesothelioma treatment centers within the VA, and you may not live within driving distance to any of them. However, you may be able to get care closer to home through the Office of Rural Health.
The Office of Rural Health:
- Offers telehealth services
- Trains doctors to serve veterans in rural areas
- Funds projects that improve veterans’ access to health care
Other services are also available to help veterans with mesothelioma get the care they need. For example, the MISSION Act allows veterans to access care from local, non-VA doctors with prior approval.
Veterans who need to travel to a mesothelioma cancer center within the VA may also be able to get the costs of their trip reimbursed in some cases.
VA Financial Benefits
In addition to health care, the VA offers financial assistance to veterans who became sick from military asbestos exposure. These benefits can pay out thousands of dollars each month for those who qualify.
Financial VA benefits include:
- Pension plans: Veterans may qualify for a VA Pension if their income is below the established rates set by Congress. A veteran’s spouses may also qualify for a Survivors Pension.
- Aid and Attendance (A&A): If a veteran lives in a nursing home or needs another person’s help with basic living activities (like bathing or getting dressed), they may be eligible for Aid and Attendance compensation. This is extra money paid as part of a pension plan.
- Disability compensation: This benefit pays out $3,100 — or more — every month to veterans who developed mesothelioma due to military service. VA disability compensation is tax-free.
These benefits can help veterans afford other expenses not covered by VA Health Care, such as paying a live-in caregiver, mortgages, or grocery bills.
Some VA benefits are also available to family members. For example, burial benefits can help loved ones pay the cost of a veteran’s funeral. There are also survivor pensions for spouses of veterans.
Geriatrics & Extended Care Services
Roughly 66% of mesothelioma patients are over the age of 65, as this cancer takes decades to develop after exposure to asbestos. If you are an older veteran with mesothelioma, you may benefit from the VA’s Geriatrics & Extended Care Services.
Through this program, veterans can access:
- At-home care from a doctor-supervised team
- Hospice care
- Palliative cancer treatments
Respite services are also available, allowing mesothelioma caregivers to get well-deserved breaks to recharge.
All veterans can access these services by applying for VA Health Care. However, it must be shown that the veteran has a medical need for the care they want to access.
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line allows those thinking about self-harm or suicide to get help from trained responders, including fellow veterans. If you’re feeling hopeless or despondent after a mesothelioma diagnosis, this free 24/7 line may be able to help.
You can reach the Veterans Crisis Line by:
- Calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1
- Texting 838255
- Chatting online at the Veterans Crisis Line website
You do not need to be receiving VA benefits to access this confidential line.