Reasons to File a Mesothelioma VA Claim
Service-connected asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma and other types of asbestos-related cancer. The VA considers these cancers to be 100% disabling because they are incurable.
Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease caused by military asbestos exposure may qualify for VA benefits, including disability compensation, VA health care and more.
These benefits help veterans and their families afford cancer treatment and other expenses related to a cancer diagnosis. An approved disability claim for mesothelioma also gives veterans access to VA health care, which is vital because some VA treatment centers specialize in mesothelioma.
Filing a Mesothelioma VA Claim
Filing a VA claim and meeting the VA disability criteria is a complex process. The process is easily delayed if the claim is submitted improperly or lacks important information.
A VA-accredited claims agent can walk you through the process and help you correctly file a claim that proves your asbestos-related disease is indeed service connected.
Types of VA Compensation
- Disability Compensation: VA disability compensation for mesothelioma starts around $3,000 a month and increases depending upon how many dependents the veteran has.
- Special Monthly Compensation: This type of compensation is given to veterans who are housebound, bedridden or disabled to a degree that they require assistance from a home health aide or nurse. Compensation depends upon how much help a person needs and ranges from $250 to $650 a month.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Commonly known as DIC, this is a monthly benefit given to the surviving spouse of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability. This type of compensation starts around $1,300.
In addition to VA claims, veterans may also seek compensation through legal claims such as mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos trust funds. Some veterans qualify to file multiple claims if they were exposed to different types of asbestos products.
Proving Asbestos Exposure on a VA Claim
- Writing an asbestos exposure summary that proves at least 50% of your asbestos exposure history occurred while you were in the U.S. military.
- Providing evidence of the asbestos exposure you endured during service.
- Submitting medical records confirming your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.
A well-written asbestos exposure summary is one of the most important elements of your VA claim. It must prove to the VA that you were exposed to more asbestos in the military than before or after your service.
It must also detail where, how and when you were exposed to asbestos-containing materials throughout your service. Details such as where you were stationed, where you slept and ate, the duties you performed and the asbestos-containing materials you worked with are important to include.
For example, Navy veterans should include the ships they served on, where they worked on the ship, the types of work they were assigned to and the products they used while working.
Veterans should write asbestos exposure summaries in great detail. Every tiny detail and piece of information is important to proving your exposure.
Eligibility for Mesothelioma VA Benefits
- Veteran Discharge Status: Veterans who were honorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. armed forces qualify for VA benefits.
- Proof of Diagnosis: You have medical records proving that you were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
- History of Asbestos Exposure: You can provide evidence and a written statement proving at least 50% of your asbestos exposure took place while you were in the military.
Qualified Asbestos Diseases for VA Claims
- Lung cancer
- Bronchus cancer
- Gastrointestinal tract cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Pharynx cancer
- Urogenital cancers (except prostate)
- Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
- Pleural effusion
- Pleural plaques
The VA Claim Process
You have the option to file a traditional VA claim or a fully developed VA claim.
Filing a traditional VA claim puts the responsibility of gathering paperwork and evidence on the VA and takes about eight months to process. Filing a fully developed VA claim means you submit supporting evidence and paperwork with the original claim. This type of claim takes about four months to process.
- Claim Received: The VA will let you know when they receive your claim. You will be notified in different ways depending upon how you submitted the claim. If you submit online, you will receive an online notification. If you mail your claim, the VA will send you letter.
- Initial Review: The VA will review your claim to ensure it contains all the necessary evidence and information. If it does not, the VA will contact you.
- Evidence Gathering, Review and Decision: During this step, the VA will review the evidence in your claim and make a decision.
- Preparation for Notification: At this step, the VA will prepare the claim decision packet and get it ready to mail.
- Claim Complete: The VA will mail you a claim decision packet that includes all the details relevant to your claim.
A VA-accredited claims agent can help you submit a fully developed claim. They can help you write an asbestos exposure summary and gather evidence to support your claim.