Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma may qualify for a VA pension, monthly compensation for lower-income veterans. To successfully file a mesothelioma pension claim with the VA, individuals must meet certain requirements and prove their asbestos exposure was service-related. The Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help file a claim on your behalf.
What Is a VA Pension?
A VA pension is a monthly payment provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to low-income, disabled wartime veterans and their family members.
Veterans experiencing financial difficulties due to illnesses or injuries sustained during their active-duty military service can apply for a VA pension.
VA pension payments can help veterans with mesothelioma by providing much-needed financial support during their time of need.
U.S. military veterans who have recently received a mesothelioma diagnosis may qualify for a pension or other benefits through the VA. Our team can help you pursue mesothelioma benefits now.
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VA Pension Amounts for Mesothelioma
VA pension amounts are usually based on the recipient’s degree of disability and how many dependents they have. An applicant’s yearly income, after medical expenses have been deducted, is also taken into account.
For example, if you have one dependent spouse with no children and also qualify for Aid & Attendance benefits, your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) is $31,714. If you made $10,000 that year, you’d receive a VA Pension of $21,714.
Working with an accredited VA claims agent or attorney can help ensure that veterans and their families receive the best rate possible.
Eligibility for a VA Pension
There are several requirements to be eligible for a VA pension, including a demonstrated financial need, a certain length of military service, and other factors.
To be eligible for a VA pension, you must have:
- A total family annual income and net worth that meet the limits set by Congress
- Not been dishonorably discharged
Additionally, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Be at least 65 years old
- Have a permanent and total disability, which includes mesothelioma
- Currently reside in a nursing home or long-term care facility because of a disability
- Receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Although veterans who received a dishonorable discharge are often disqualified from accessing a VA pension, discharge status can be appealed.
The amount of time a veteran served and whether they served during a war are also part of the process of determining eligibility.
At least one of the following must be true. You:
- Began active-duty service before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active duty with at least one day during wartime
- Began active-duty service as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called with at least 1 day of wartime service
- Were an officer and began active duty after October 16, 1981, without having previously served on active duty for at least 24 months
What Qualifies as Wartime Service?
The federal government has specifically defined which conflicts qualify as a wartime period. This allows the VA to identify which veterans are eligible for VA pension benefits more easily.
- World War II: December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War era: February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in Vietnam
- Vietnam War era: August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served outside of Vietnam
- Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a future date not yet set by law or presidential proclamation
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How to Apply for Mesothelioma Pension Claims
Filing a claim for a pension and other VA benefits can be accomplished by mail, in person, or online. Regardless of how the application is submitted, certain pieces of information are required for a complete claim.
- Financial information of the veteran and their dependents
- Medical information
- Military history
- Social security number or VA file number
- Work history
It can take time to gather the necessary supporting information to file a claim. To help bridge this gap, applicants can file an informal claim called an intent to file.
Pension benefits begin from the date a claim is filed, even if the claim takes weeks or months to process. An intent to file allows applicants to begin the process as soon as possible, even if they are still gathering documentation.
Successful applicants then receive more retroactive benefits than those who waited to file until their claim was complete.
Other VA Benefits for Veterans With Mesothelioma
There are several other types of VA benefits that can help veterans and their families. Some of these benefits can be accessed in addition to a VA pension, and others are available instead of a VA pension.
Mesothelioma VA benefits for veterans include:
- Aid and Attendance (A&A)
- Disability compensation
- Health care for veterans
- Housebound benefits
- VA Fiduciary Program
Mesothelioma VA benefits for family members include:
- Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Funeral benefits
- Health care for dependents
- Survivor pension (also called death pension)
Accessing VA resources can provide mesothelioma victims and their families with needed financial support, caregiver assistance, and health care benefits.
Get Help Filing Your Mesothelioma Pension Claim
The financial support that a VA pension and other benefits bring can be invaluable to veterans and their families, especially those affected by mesothelioma. Though this cancer can bring a lot of stress, mesothelioma VA benefits like a pension can help offset expenses and bills.
Our on-staff veterans advocacy team can help make the process of filing a claim faster and easier. File a mesothelioma VA claim now.
Common Questions About VA Pensions
What is the income limit for VA pension?
To be eligible for VA pension funds, your annual income cannot exceed the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). Your MAPR will vary based on the number of dependents you have and whether or not you qualify for Housebound or Aid & Attendance benefits.
For 2023, veterans with no dependents have an MAPR amount of $16,037-$26,752, depending on what benefits you qualify for.
Veterans with one dependent spouse or child have an MAPR amount of $21,001-$31,714.
Spouses applying for survivor benefits face different income limits than veterans themselves.
Whether an individual qualifies and the exact amount of the award are determined during the application process.
Are VA pensions taxable?
VA pensions are not taxed. Further, there are no limits on how you use the money you receive from a VA pension.
Can I get a VA pension and Social Security?
Yes, you can get both VA pension benefits and Social Security at the same time. However, any money you receive from Social Security will be counted toward your yearly income. You cannot receive a VA pension if Social Security puts you above the set income limit in your case.
Do I qualify for a VA pension if I received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge?
Veterans who received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge may not be eligible for a mesothelioma pension claim. However, the VA provides two ways to appeal a discharge status.
A discharge upgrade allows for circumstances — beyond the control of the individual — that may have contributed to the dishonorable discharge to be reviewed and re-examined years later.
Veterans may also want to explore the VA Character of Discharge review process, which may also help to change discharge status and grant access to a VA pension.