How to File a Mesothelioma VA Claim
For most of the 20th century, the U.S. Armed Forces used aircraft, ships, construction, and other equipment that contained asbestos. Because of this exposure, military veterans make up approximately 30% of all mesothelioma cases in the United States. Mesothelioma is cancer that develops from asbestos exposure. Individuals must apply through the Department of Veteran Affairs to receive VA benefits for mesothelioma.
Military personnel have historically faced significant daily exposure to asbestos, which was heavily used in aircraft, ships, vehicles and armaments for most of the 20th century.
Navy personnel experienced the highest exposure levels due to the use of asbestos to line ships. However, personnel in all branches of the military who worked in shipyards or served as aircraft or vehicle mechanics experienced prolonged high-level exposure.
Veterans who served in the Gulf War, Vietnam or other conflicts were often in close proximity to buildings that had been bombed or otherwise destroyed, many of which contained substantial quantities of asbestos. The brave men and women serving overseas today are still vulnerable to asbestos exposure.
How do you qualify for disability benefits from the VA?
Veterans who are eligible for disability benefits have a confirmed medical diagnosis and meet the following criteria:
What are the types of disability benefits?
The Department of Veterans Affairs awards disability benefits to veterans who acquire an injury or illness while carrying out their military duties or whose existing condition is made worse because of their service. These are called service-connected disabilities.
The VA uses a rating system to classify service-connected disabilities. This rating is used to determine eligibility and calculate compensation rates and other benefits. The greater the disability, the higher the rating. Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma due to their military service are usually assigned a 100 percent disability rating, which enables them to receive maximum benefits.
VA disability compensation is tax-free monthly payments provided to veterans with service-connected disabilities. The award amount is tied to the disability rating and can be increased if the veteran has dependents.
VA Health Care
VA health care is available to most veterans, but the benefit packages vary based on individual characteristics such as disability rating and income levels. Veterans are assigned to priority groups based on these characteristics.
Veterans who have service-connected disabilities with a rating of at least 50 percent are assigned to priority group 1. Veterans with mesothelioma usually receive priority group 1 status. Priority group 1 veterans receive free health care benefits without copays.
The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center is a state-of-the-art mesothelioma treatment center that is operated by Dr. Robert Cameron, a pioneer in cutting-edge mesothelioma research. While he does not claim to cure mesothelioma, his treatments have greatly improved the lifespan and quality of life of mesothelioma patients who previously had no hope.
With a referral from a local VA medical center, VA health care covers the cost of travel to Los Angeles to receive treatment. Patients who are not local to the Los Angeles area receive free housing and transportation to and from the clinic.