ExecutiveChronicles | Everything You Need To Know About Filing A VA Claim for Mesothelioma | Veterans who served in the military from 1930 to 1980 are at a higher risk of asbestos-related diseases; this includes mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by extensive usage of asbestos in the military.
Hundreds if not thousands of military soldiers were exposed to high levels of asbestos in one way or another during their service before the early 1980s. Moreover, early symptoms of mesothelioma don’t show up for 20 to 50 years after the supposed exposure. So, it’s likely that if a veteran gets a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is related to their military service before the 1980s.
Thankfully veterans and their families who served in the armed forces of the United States from 1930-to 50 are eligible for VA benefits, including health care and disability compensation. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans who fought in Iraq, other nations in the Middle East, and Southeast Asia are at a higher risk of asbestos exposure present in damaged older buildings and the everyday activities of military jobs like vehicle maintenance and construction.
If you are feeling lost about how to get your claims filed, there is no need to worry, as we are here to guide you through it all. This article will discuss everything you need to know about the claims process, including VA disability pension, the health care benefits, and the eligibility criteria. Continue reading to learn more.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other conditions associated with military asbestos exposure are eligible for a wide range of benefits, including disability compensation and health care from the VA.
Veterans with asbestos exposure can receive monthly disability compensation based on their disability rating. All malignancies, including mesothelioma, immediately result in the highest disability rating guaranteeing compensation.
According to the number of family members financially dependent on the veteran, the disability compensation for mesothelioma ranges from $3,146 per month to more than $11,000 per month. The veteran’s age or family income has no bearing on their ability to receive disability benefits. Plus, these benefits are not subject to income tax. Besides, chemotherapy and treatment are provided to veterans free of charge if their VA disability claim is accepted. Veterans receiving disability benefits are exempt from going to a VA facility for mesothelioma treatment.
Asbestos-Related Conditions That The VA Recognizes
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes the following conditions that can make veterans eligible for VA benefits: mesothelioma, asbestosis, larynx cancer, pharynx cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, bronchus cancer, pleural effusion and plaques, lung cancer, and interstitial pulmonary fibrosis.
As the Department of Veterans Affairs points out in its discussion of VA mesothelioma benefits, it’s essential to remember that these illnesses associated with asbestos exposure can affect veterans from all military branches.
Eligibility Criteria For VA Benefits
Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses related to military service can receive monetary and health care benefits. Affected family members of departed veterans can also apply for these benefits on their behalf. However, you must fulfill the following conditions to be eligible for asbestos-related compensations.
- You got discharged honorably
- You can confirm your asbestos-related condition through medical records from a hospital or doctor
- Your military service may account for at least half of your asbestos exposure. You need a record with a written asbestos exposure summary and other documentation; this can prove that the asbestos exposure happened during your military service
Eligibility For VA Pension
Veterans who fulfill specific age and disability conditions and income and net worth restrictions can receive a monthly pension payment under the VA pension program.
Finally, as outlined below, you must fulfill at least one of the following VA pension qualifying criteria:
- Your age should be 65 or over
- Chronically incapacitated
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
How To File A Claim?
If the VA determines that your mesothelioma diagnosis is service-related, you will be entitled to 100% disability pay, regardless of your income level.
A standard VA claim means that the VA is responsible for obtaining all required documentation. It is a long-term undertaking, requiring an average of eight months to complete. You can speed up the decision-making process by sending all appropriate supporting evidence and your original claim.
Filing for VA benefits necessitates many steps. The good news is that veterans with mesothelioma may easily claim with the assistance of a lawyer experienced in this field. They can assist you in gathering the evidence necessary to support your claim.
1. Connect With A Mesothelioma Lawyer
A competent mesothelioma lawyer can help you compile the evidence required to make a VA claim. Their staff can use data from working with other veterans to determine precisely when and where the asbestos exposure happened.
2. Gather Evidence
The VA mesothelioma claim for veterans needs ample proof to support it, or the VA can reject it. Proof of diagnosis and a connection between the diagnosis and military service are also part of this evidence. Included in this are the following:
- Medical documents with a record of the asbestos-related condition
- Documentation reflecting the length of time spent in the military as well as the status of the discharge
- Lastly, medical records confirm the link between the service period and asbestos contact
3. File The Claim
Once you’ve acquired all of the requisite documents, you’ll need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ. To make a claim, go to any three options, online, by mail, or in person. You’ll be asked on the form what kinds of disabilities you have and how your military service is associated with your disabilities.
Once you’ve completed the form and gathered the necessary evidence, you’re ready to submit your mesothelioma veteran’s claim with the Veterans Administration.
4. Review Of The Claim
The VA will analyze your claim and then assess whether or not you are eligible for the benefits you seek based on your information.
The Veterans Administration (VA) will decide whether or not you will get the benefits. The VA may refuse to provide VA benefits to veterans in rare situations. There is the option of filing an appeal in this situation.
Asbestos has historically been used in a wide variety of goods and structures. If you served in the military and were exposed to asbestos, you are entitled to VA compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We’ve covered all you need to know about filing a VA claim, from the qualifying requirements to the claims procedure in this article. Hopefully, you found this article helpful.
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