Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma may qualify for a VA pension, which is monthly compensation paid specifically to lower-income veterans. To successfully file a mesothelioma pension claim with the VA, individuals must meet certain requirements and provide documentation proving their asbestos exposure stems from service in the military. A VA-accredited lawyer or claims agent can help file a strong 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.
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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 or child and are not confined to your home due to disability, your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) is $18,008. If you made $10,000 that year, you’d receive a VA Pension of $8,008.
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 easily identify which veterans are eligible for VA pension benefits.
- 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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