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How to File a Mesothelioma VA Claim

Veterans with mesothelioma as a result of military asbestos exposure can file a claim for compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs. A VA claim can enable you to receive free health care and monthly compensation of up to $3,737.85. This amount may be higher if you are married or have dependent children. Contact us today to learn more about filing a mesothelioma VA claim.

Legally Reviewed By: Sam E. Taylor
Managing Attorney | Mesothelioma & Asbestos in Houston

Sam Taylor

Legally Reviewed By: Sam E. Taylor
Managing Attorney | Mesothelioma & Asbestos in Houston

If you are a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer or another asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible to receive monthly tax-free benefits and no-cost health care through the VA. The primary known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and veterans in all branches of the service experienced heavy asbestos exposure in the military.

Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps veterans experienced the heaviest military asbestos exposure due to the significant use of asbestos on Navy ships and Coast Guard vessels. Asbestos exposure in the Army other branches was common while serving in older buildings overseas, especially when buildings exploded or were destroyed. 

Air Force veterans were exposed to asbestos while working around mechanical aircraft parts susceptible to friction or likely to be exposed to high heat, such as brakes, engine gaskets, and wiring insulation. Members of all branches may have been exposed to asbestos while resting in their barracks.

If you were exposed to asbestos while serving on active duty in any branch of the military or while participating in inactive duty training and you have since contracted mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible to file a claim for VA benefits. Call us today at (866) 380-2732 for answers to all of your questions about how to file a mesothelioma VA claim.

Who Is Eligible To File an Asbestos-Related VA Claim?

You may be eligible to file a mesothelioma VA claim if your discharge was not considered dishonorable and you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness from exposure during your military service. 

You will need your service records, medical records, and a written statement from your doctor proving that your mesothelioma diagnosis resulted from your military service. Specific eligibility criteria vary according to which types of VA claims you file.

How to File a Claim For Mesothelioma VA Benefits

While each type of VA claim involves a separate application and specific documentation requirement, the filing process for a VA claim is similar across most claim types.

a. Your personally identifying information, such as your social security number and date of birth
b. Service records showing your occupations in the military, dates of service, and where you were stationed
c. Medical records
d. Financial documents, such as bank statements
e. The death certificate if claimants are surviving family members
f. Bank information for direct deposit of your benefits

After your claim is approved, you will receive an award letter advising you of the approval, the amount you will receive, and when benefit payments will commence. If your claim is denied, the letter will include the reasons for the denial and provide instructions for filing an appeal.

Types of VA Benefits for Veterans with Mesothelioma

The VA offers several types of benefits to veterans who were exposed to asbestos in the military and subsequently developed an asbestos-related illness. Mesothelioma is a latent illness that typically develops decades after exposure. However, there is no time limit on applying for most veterans benefits.

You or your family may be eligible for one or more of the following VA benefits if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness:

  • VA Disability Compensation
  • VA Pension
  • VA Health Care
  • Aid & Attendance
  • Housebound Benefits
  • Dependency & Indemnity Compensation
  • Survivors Pension for families of deceased veterans
  • CHAMPVA health insurance for caregivers and families
  • Funeral and burial benefits

VA Disability Compensation for Mesothelioma

Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly payout to veterans who have become disabled by an injury or illness stemming from their military service. To receive VA disability compensation for mesothelioma, you must request it by filing a claim. 

You will need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ and provide supporting documentation about your military discharge, mesothelioma diagnosis, and asbestos exposure in the military. You can accomplish this by submitting a copy of your DD-214, service records, and medical records. If you cannot obtain all your records, you can give the VA permission to locate them.

If you worked in the following occupations, the VA will presume you were exposed to asbestos in the military. These occupations include the following:

  • Airman apprentice
  • Aviation boatswain’s mate
  • Aviation chief metalsmith
  • Aviation machinist’s mate
  • Aviation electrician’s mate
  • Aerographer’s mate
  • Aircraft maintenance man
  • Aviation storekeeper
  • Aviation structural mechanic
  • Airman
  • Aviation ordnance man
  • Aviation fire control technician
  • Airman recruit
  • Aviation radioman
  • Aviation support equipment technician
  • Aviation electronic technician
  • Aviation Antisubmarine warfare operator
  • Aviation antisub warfare technician
  • Aviation maintenance administration man
  • Boatswain’s mate
  • Boilermaker
  • Boiler technician
  • Builder
  • Construction driver
  • Contructoin electrician
  • Construction mechanic
  • Construction man
  • Coxswain
  • Commissary man
  • Communication technician
  • Cryptologic technician
  • Damage control man
  • Disbursing clerk
  • Data processing technician
  • Data system technician
  • Dental technician
  • Electronics technician
  • Electrician’s mate
  • Engineman
  • Equipment operator
  • Fire control man
  • Fire control technician
  • Gas turbine system technician
  • Gunner’s mate
  • Hospital Corpsman
  • Hospital man
  • Hull maintenance technician
  • Interior communication technician
  • Instrument man
  • Lithographer
  • Machinist mate
  • Machinery repairman
  • Master-at-arms
  • Mess management specialist
  • Metalsmith
  • Mine man
  • Missile technician
  • Molder
  • Motor machinist mate
  • Musician
  • Navy counselor
  • Operations specialist
  • Optical man
  • Painter
  • Personnel man
  • Pharmacist
  • Photographer’s mate
  • Photographic intelligence man
  • Pipefitter
  • Postal clerk
  • Printer
  • Quartermaster
  • Radar man
  • Radioman
  • Seaman
  • Seaman apprentice
  • Shipfitter
  • Ship’s cook
  • Ship’s serviceman
  • Signalman
  • Sonar technician
  • Sonarman
  • Sound man
  • Steelworker
  • Stewardsman
  • Stewart
  • Stewart apprentice
  • Steward’s mate
  • Storekeeper
  • Teletype
  • Torpedoman’s mate
  • Trade man
  • Utilities man
  • Water tender
  • Yeoman

If you were exposed to asbestos in a military occupation not listed here, you may still be eligible for disability compensation for your asbestos-related illness. However, the VA may request additional information from you during the claims process.

If you successfully prove you have service-connected mesothelioma or lung cancer and are single with no dependent children, you will receive monthly compensation of $3,737.85

  • This is increased to $3,946.25 if you are married with no dependent children. 
  • You will receive an additional $334.49 per month for each dependent child.
  • If your spouse is disabled, $191.14 will be added to your monthly payout.

VA Health Care for Veterans with Mesothelioma

VA health care provides medical treatments to veterans at VA medical centers nationwide and at approved private providers. As an honorably discharged veteran, you may already receive some VA health care benefits. However, when you have service-connected mesothelioma, your health care benefits may be upgraded.

The VA will assign you to a priority group upon approval of your VA Disability Claim. If you have mesothelioma, lung cancer, or a severe case of asbestosis, you will likely be assigned to Priority Group 1, which provides the highest level of coverage. You will receive no-cost medical treatment that is free of deductibles and copays. 

VA Pensions for Mesothelioma

A VA pension is monthly compensation for wartime veterans with limited financial means. To qualify, you must prove that your net worth is lower than the limit set by Congress. This limit is adjusted annually. In 2024, the net worth limit is $155,356

Your income must also be lower than your Maximum Annual Payment Rate, or MAPR. This rate varies depending on your marital status and dependents. The 2024 MAPR for single veterans with no children is $16,551.

You must be 65 or older or have a permanent, total disability. Those with mesothelioma or lung cancer generally meet this qualification. 

You can apply for a VA pension online, by mail, in person, or with the help of an accredited representative. Regardless of the method you choose, you will need to complete Form 21P-527EZ: Application for Veterans Pension and provide the following supporting documentation:

  • Your social security number
  • Your military service history showing you served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during wartime
  • Financial information, such as bank statements for you and your dependents
  • Your work history
  • Direct deposit information for your bank account
  • Medical records, such as chest X-rays, test results, and doctor’s reports
  • Your DD-214

Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits