Mesothelioma VA Benefits

Quick Summary

There are a variety of VA benefits available for veterans with mesothelioma. Veterans and their families may get monthly financial payouts to help with living expenses. As of 2021, many veterans with mesothelioma receive over $3,300 each month thanks to their VA benefits. Health care benefits are also available, so veterans can pursue treatments from mesothelioma specialists. File for mesothelioma VA benefits right now.

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Benefits for Military Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma develops after prolonged exposure to asbestos. Veterans have a higher risk of mesothelioma than non-veterans due to the widespread use of asbestos by the military.

The U.S. military used toxic asbestos until the 1980s to make fireproof and heat-resistant materials for bases, vehicles, and U.S. Navy ships without knowing its dangers.

Asbestos exposure occurred in every branch of the military: the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. As a result, over 30% of mesothelioma patients are veterans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hopes to right this wrong by providing veterans with mesothelioma high-quality medical care and financial aid. If you served in any branch and developed an asbestos-related illness as a result, you may be able to receive mesothelioma veterans benefits.

Your VA benefits may include:

Your family members may also qualify for a variety of VA benefits, such as financial compensation and health care.

VA benefits for survivors include:

Get a free veterans packet to see how you can access VA benefits right now.

How to File a Claim For Mesothelioma VA Benefits

In order to access mesothelioma VA benefits, veterans will likely need to file a postservice claim as this cancer typically develops 20-50 years after exposure.

Below, learn about the steps to file a mesothelioma VA claim and how our team may be able to help.

1. Determine Eligibility

You may be eligible for mesothelioma VA benefits if you:

  1. Served on active duty or had active duty/inactive duty training
  2. Developed mesothelioma due to your military service
  3. Were not-dishonorably discharged
Not sure if you qualify?

We can determine if you may be able to access mesothelioma veterans benefits and additional financial compensation.

You may qualify for other types of mesothelioma compensation even if you can’t receive VA benefits.

Contact our team today.

2. Gather Evidence

Evidence will need to be gathered to support your claim before it is filed.

This evidence may include:

  • Information about how you were exposed to asbestos in the military (what job you held, the products you worked around, etc.)
  • Any evidence that you were exposed to asbestos before/after military service
  • Medical records of your mesothelioma diagnosis

A detailed exposure summary letter may also be needed to file a mesothelioma VA claim.

This exposure summary letter should explain:

  • How you were exposed
  • The extent of the exposure
  • What asbestos products you were exposed to
  • Where you were stationed & when you were exposed

The key to getting mesothelioma VA benefits is to tie your exposure back to military service. The claim must show that at least 50% of your “occupational” exposure occurred in the military — not in your civilian career.

The VA-accredited claims agents at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help you gather the right documents and records needed for your claim. Call (877) 450-8973 to learn more.

3. Medical Examination

Generally, the VA will have veterans filing a claim undergo a medical examination to see if their disability is service-related.

Since asbestos is a known toxin, the VA classifies mesothelioma as a “presumed disability.” This means that you may be able to bypass this examination if you have enough evidence to support your claim.

4. File the Mesothelioma VA Benefits Claim

Once you’ve gathered the right supporting information, it’s time to file your claim. As of 2021, you’ll need VA Form 21-526EZ to file for mesothelioma VA benefits.

You may file your claim:

  • By mail
  • In person
  • Online
  • With the help of VA-accredited attorneys

The VA recommends working with a VA-accredited representative to make the process as easy as possible for you. Without help, filing a claim for an asbestos-related disease can be confusing. There could be mistakes made that cause your claim to be delayed or rejected.

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5. Await a Decision and Receive Benefits

Once the claim and the supporting evidence has been submitted, the VA will review the claim.

“Each claim is different, but it usually takes us about 3 to 4 months to process a claim from start to finish. The processing time for your claim depends on how complex your claim is and how many conditions you’ve claimed.”

– U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Fortunately, you can work with VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyers to speed up this process. These attorneys can help you gather key supporting information for your claim, which can streamline the review process.

Further, they may be able to help you contact your local Congressman who can lobby to have your claim reviewed faster.

Did you know?

Some mesothelioma VA claims have been reviewed in as little as 1 month with help from lawyers and congressmen.

Once your claim is approved, you can start to receive VA benefits for mesothelioma.

Learn more about filing a claim for mesothelioma VA benefits.
Call (877) 450-8973.

Types of VA Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients

VA Disability Compensation

Those suffering from a disability related to their service may qualify for veterans disability compensation.

The VA recognizes mesothelioma as disabilities that are only caused by asbestos. Further, mesothelioma has a 100% disability rating on the VA’s scale. This means affected veterans often get the highest amounts of compensation possible.

That said, medical evidence must be provided in order to obtain disability benefits. Submitting a pathology report from a mesothelioma specialist is often enough proof to qualify.

  • VA Compensation Amounts

    Veterans approved for VA mesothelioma disability compensation receive $3,146.42 per month if single and $3,321.85 per month if married.

Disability is a tax-free benefit. Additional money may be available if the veteran has dependent children or needs the aid and attendance of a caregiver. Veterans who have been dishonorably discharged are not eligible.

Learn how to receive VA benefits worth $3,000+ a month with a free veterans packet.

Mesothelioma Veterans GuideGet a FREE Veterans Packet

Get information on:

  • Top Treatment
  • Best Doctors
  • Improving Prognosis

Get a Free Veterans Packet

VA Pension

Pensions are provided to low-income, disabled wartime veterans. In order to file a mesothelioma VA pension claim, a veteran must have served on active duty for 90 days or more. At least one of those days must have occurred during a wartime period.

Veterans entering active duty after September 7, 1980, must have served 24 months or the full period during which they were called to active duty. One of those days had to be during a wartime period.

Veterans must also fall under one of these categories:

  • Older than 65
  • Permanently disabled
  • Receiving care in a nursing home
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In addition, annual family income must fall below the amount set by Congress.

Aid and Attendance (A&A)

This benefit is for veterans who need a caregiver. A&A can help veterans with mesothelioma improve their quality of life by allowing them to afford third-party care.

Many veterans and their Veteran Service Officers (VSO) may think that A&A is only available to veterans who qualify for a VA pension. However, veterans who are receiving VA disability compensation can also receive A&A.

You may qualify for A&A if:

  • You are bedridden
  • You are living in a nursing home due to a physical or mental incapacity
  • You require a caregiver to perform daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, shaving, or using the bathroom

Housebound Benefits

Veterans who cannot leave their homes due to a disability may be eligible for housebound benefits. The veteran must qualify for VA disability compensation or a pension plan to get this benefit.

If eligible, housebound benefits are added to VA disability or pension payouts in the form of extra compensation.

VA Health Care for Veterans

Veterans can use VA health care to get treatments from mesothelioma specialists at select VA hospitals and medical centers.

The VA has two world-renowned mesothelioma thoracic surgeons who treat veterans. These specialists are Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal in Boston and Dr. Robert Cameron in Los Angeles.

Any mesothelioma patient already enrolled in the VA Health Care System can receive free or low-cost treatment from Dr. Lebenthal or Dr. Cameron.

If the veteran gets a referral to one of these doctors from their local VA doctor, the VA may pay for travel expenses.

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.

To pursue medical treatment from the VA, veterans must:

  • Be enrolled in the VA Health Care System
  • Have a service-related disability
  • Meet the VA’s income limits
  • Belong to a special group of veterans such as Purple Heart recipients, Prisoners of War (POWs), and those exposed to Agent Orange or other toxins

Learn how to access VA health care for mesothelioma with a free veterans packet.

Mesothelioma Veterans GuideGet a FREE Veterans Packet

Get information on:

  • Top Treatment
  • Best Doctors
  • Improving Prognosis

Get a Free Veterans Packet

VA Benefits for Spouses and Dependent Children

The spouse and children of a veteran who passed away from mesothelioma also may be eligible for VA benefits. These benefits can be used any time up to 10 years after the VA rules them eligible.

VA Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC)

VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) is a form of tax-free compensation paid to survivors of a military veteran. For a family to be eligible, their loved one must have died in the line of duty or from a service-related disability like mesothelioma.

  • VA DIC Amounts

    VA DIC starts at $1,357.56 per month for a surviving spouse if the veteran passed away on or after January 1, 1993. It is higher for spouses with dependent children or those who are housebound or require a caregiver.

VA DIC is not automatically paid once a married veteran dies from a service-related disability. The surviving spouse of a veteran who died from mesothelioma must apply for VA DIC through the VA.

Survivors Pension

A spouse and dependents of a deceased veteran may qualify for survivors pension (also called death pension).

Survivors pensions are specifically for low-income families. A family’s net worth and yearly income must also be under certain limits established by Congress in order to qualify.

All income is counted with the exception of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The VA will deduct certain expenses (such as out-of-pocket medical costs) for the purpose of qualifying a veteran’s family member for a pension.

A veteran’s service also affects eligibility.

Veteran factors that impact survivors pension include:

  • Duration of service
  • If they served in wartime
  • When they entered active duty

Limits for survivor pension vary depending on the survivor’s income, net worth, and other factors.

VA Health Care Through CHAMPVA

The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) serves as VA health care for the family members of disabled or deceased veterans. CHAMPVA allows qualifying family members to access health care at a lower cost.

To be eligible for the program, you must be one of the following:

  • The spouse or child of a veteran who is disabled from a service-related condition
  • The surviving spouse or child of a veteran who died from a service-related condition
  • The surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was disabled at the time of death

Funeral & Burial Reimbursement

The VA pays burial expenses without a written application, so surviving family members can often receive the maximum monetary burial benefits allowed by law. The process is done through an automated system.

For deaths related to a veteran’s service, the VA will pay up to $2,000 if the veteran passed away on or after September 11, 2001. If the veteran passed away prior to that date, mesothelioma VA burial benefits pay out $1,500.

Funeral Honors

The Department of Defense provides military funeral honors to all veterans regardless of when they served. Funeral honors are performed at both national and private cemeteries. Most funeral directors can help families access funeral honors.

What to Expect at a VA Funeral

Two service members in uniform will provide a U.S. flag to be draped over the coffin. The flag is then folded during the ceremony in precise military fashion. Taps will be played during the appropriate portion of the ceremony.

Free Military Headstone

Free military headstones are given at no charge for eligible veterans, regardless of the cause of death. The next of kin can apply for a headstone with the VA, and it can be delivered to any cemetery around the world.

Getting Your VA Benefits

Though applying for mesothelioma veterans benefits may seem like a long process, our team is here to help.

Our Claims Agents are experienced dealing with the ins and outs of filing for mesothelioma VA benefits — and many of them are veterans themselves. They can review your case and help you pursue all the benefits you deserve.

Most importantly, our Claims Agents can ease some of your stress so that you can focus on your health and spending time with loved ones.

Reasons to seek mesothelioma VA benefits:

  • Consultations with a Claims Agent are free
  • You can reduce financial strains
  • You earned these veterans benefits by serving your country

Get in contact with one of our VA-accredited Claims Agents now.

Mesothelioma VA Benefits: Common Questions

I served in the military decades ago. Can I still get VA benefits?

Yes. The VA is aware that asbestos was widely used in the U.S. Armed Forces. The VA also recognizes that mesothelioma does not usually appear until decades after someone was exposed to asbestos.

This is why veterans with mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos while serving decades ago can receive VA benefits today.

Can veterans from any military branch pursue mesothelioma benefits?

Yes. U.S. veterans from any branch of the military may have been exposed to asbestos if they served between the 1930s and early 1980s. Some may have been exposed even after this time, as asbestos still lurks in some older bases, ships, and older buildings in foreign countries like the Middle East.

U.S. Navy veterans were at the highest risk of asbestos exposure, as ships contained tons of asbestos up through the 1980s. Veterans who worked in shipyards also had a high risk of exposure since they had to handle many asbestos-based products directly.

Our team can help determine when and where you were exposed to asbestos and file VA benefits if you have mesothelioma. Get help filing for VA benefits right now.

If I get VA benefits, will I be forced to see a VA doctor?

No. While veterans approved for VA disability compensation are eligible for free VA health care, there is no requirement that they use it. Veterans with private health insurance can continue treatment through their civilian doctors, not through the VA.

Is my income too high to get mesothelioma veterans benefits?

No. While some VA benefits are meant to help low-income veterans, there are benefits for all veteran mesothelioma patients regardless of income. Monthly financial benefits and VA health care can provide additional peace and security for you and your family.

Are there time limits to file a mesothelioma VA benefits claim?

No, but try to file your claim as soon as possible for best results. The sooner you file for mesothelioma VA benefits, the sooner your claim can be processed — and you and your family won’t get any benefits until this happens. Further, filing for benefits shortly after a mesothelioma diagnosis is important since this cancer can spread quickly.

How does the VA rate asbestosis claims?

Asbestosis, a noncancerous disease caused by asbestos exposure, is rated by the VA using the same process used to rate mesothelioma cases. Cases of asbestos lung cancer are also rated along the same guidelines.

Speaking with our Claims Agents can give you a better idea of compensation rates for asbestosis or asbestos lung cancer.

Can I pursue financial compensation outside of the VA?

Yes. After a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be able to work with a law firm to pursue compensation through legal claims and asbestos trust funds.

Legal claims can allow you to access money from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. These claims pay out $1 million on average.

Asbestos trust funds were created by manufacturers of bankrupt asbestos products so victims could get compensation (as legal claims can’t be filed against them). Over $30 billion is available in these funds.

No legal action will be taken against the U.S. military if you file a legal claim or an asbestos trust fund claim.

What costs can be covered with my VA benefits?

A wide range of costs can be covered by VA benefits. VA financial benefits can pay for basic living expenses, in-home care, and funeral costs.

VA health care benefits can cover most or all mesothelioma treatment costs. These expenses can otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A veteran’s spouse may also qualify for monthly financial payouts from the VA if a veteran passes away.

Get a free veterans packet to learn how VA benefits can help you and your family.

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 12 Sources
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  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Compensation - Asbestos Exposure.” Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp. Accessed on September 25th, 2017.
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