If you served in the military prior to the 1980s, it’s likely you were exposed to asbestos. In the event you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be able to file a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to seek compensation and health care.
All veterans who served in the 1970s and earlier are at an elevated risk of developing an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma. If you’re trying to decide if you should file a VA claim after being diagnosed, a mesothelioma attorney from Frost Law Firm, PC can help.
Filing a VA claim is a complex process—especially when it comes time to meet the VA disability qualifications. To ensure you have all the documents needed and the proper proof, you’ll want strong legal representation backing you. This way, you’ll receive the full benefits you deserve.
The VA recognizes asbestos-related mesothelioma as 100% disabling. While any servicemember could be at risk of developing mesothelioma, Navy veterans are among the most at risk because of the materials used to build and reinforce their ships.
While you may be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the asbestos company that was responsible for your exposure, filing a VA claim is a way to get the financial help you need if your exposure occurred while you were serving in the military.
Types of VA Claims
If you’re in the process of considering whether you should file a VA claim, you’ll want to first consider the types of claims that exist. They include pre-discharge claims, claims based on pre-service disabilities, claims based on in-service disabilities, claims based on post-service disabilities, and claims based on special circumstances.
In most cases, veterans with mesothelioma will file a claim for a post-service disability. This is because even the earliest mesothelioma symptoms can take 10 to 50 years to develop after asbestos exposure. The Department of Veterans Affairs considers asbestos-related diseases to be the result of exposure to a hazardous material.
When you work with a Hawaii attorney from Frost Law Firm, PC, they’ll be able to determine which type of VA claim you should file, so nothing jeopardizes your compensation.
Determining Eligibility for VA Benefits
There are a number of qualifications you need to meet in order to file a successful VA claim. First, you have to be able to prove your veteran status and that you were honorably discharged from any branch of the military or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
Once you’ve proven your veteran status, you have to provide documentation that confirms your mesothelioma diagnosis and asbestos exposure history. Medical records from a hospital or doctor can confirm your illness. As far as proving exposure history goes, your lawyer will help you compose a written asbestos exposure summary, including evidence proving that at least 50% of your lifetime asbestos exposure occurred while you were in the military.
Veterans’ Compensation for Mesothelioma Diagnosis
When filing a VA claim for mesothelioma, you’ll need to understand the primary types of compensation that you may be eligible for. The three types include the following:
- Disability Compensation. This is a monetary benefit for veterans that have a service-related disability. The coverage takes care of the cost of a post-service disability, including medical bills.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. In the event you’ve lost a loved one due to mesothelioma and you believe their exposure was related to their time in the military, dependency and indemnity compensation may be available. This type of benefit is typically available for the spouse, child, or parents of the deceased.
- Special Monthly Compensation. In some situations, veterans, their spouses, and their surviving family members may be eligible for benefits as a result of special circumstances. When the compensation is awarded to a family that has lost their loved one, it’s referred to as aid and attendance. It is paid out based on need, as opposed to monthly.
In the event the benefits you receive are not enough to cover your medical expenses and other mesothelioma-related losses, we can look into helping you file a lawsuit against the company that caused your asbestos exposure.
Contact a Hawaii Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you choose to file a traditional VA claim, it will become the VA’s responsibility to gather the required paperwork. The process is slow and usually takes around eight months. If you wish to expedite the process, you can submit all the required supporting documentation with your original claim. This usually takes half the amount of time.