If you served in the military and developed an asbestos-related illness, you are entitled to disability as a veteran as long as the asbestos exposure occurred while you were in service. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a veteran to be eligible, but there is a long process of paperwork to go through in order to get approved.
Types of Asbestos Diseases Veterans Develop
Unfortunately, asbestos was once widely used in all branches of the military, leading to many veterans developing a number of different asbestos-related diseases. While mesothelioma remains the most common type of disease that results from asbestos exposure, some veterans have developed asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural plaques and effusions. Even if it’s been over 20 to 50 years since you served, you may not have known you developed an asbestos illnesses until decades later, as the latency period for asbestos diseases is usually more than 20 years.
Approved Veterans’ Claims
Regardless of your job title or where you worked while serving in the military, in most instances, there is a good chance you were exposed to asbestos. Some jobs, such as working in the boiler room or repairing ships are considered high risk developed an asbestos illness, whereas many military office jobs may be considered low risk. Before filing your claim for disability, try to remember as much as details as possible about your job duties. If you need assistance, an experienced asbestos attorney can help you uncover each of your duties while serving.
How to Get Paid Disability Compensation From the VA
Veterans approved for disability compensation will be awarded a set amount each month depending on the rating of disability you receive, which can from anywhere between 10% to 100%. In general, if you have mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, you will qualify for the full 100% disability.
Get Your Information Together
Probably the most difficult part of the process, aside from the anticipation and waiting, is all the paperwork needed when filing a claim. But if you know beforehand exactly what you need, the process can go a bit easier. In order to qualify for VA disability compensation, you will need to submit the following to the VA:
- A copy of your DD 214 discharge paperwork
- VA Form 21-526EZ: Complete the Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits
- A summary of your exposure to asbestos in the military
- Copies of your medical records
- Copies of your marriage, divorce, or widow paperwork (if applicable to you)
- If you have dependents, complete and turn in the VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents
The amount of compensation you’ll receive each month will depend upon your disability rating, as well as if you have a spouse and/or dependents. Processing all your paperwork and documentation may take a while as the VA prepares everything, and take can anywhere from a few months to over a year.
For additional information on the VA claim process, refer to our article, Veteran Mesothelioma Claims Guide
Other Compensation for Veterans
In addition to disability compensation, you may also be eligible for compensation via an asbestos-related lawsuit. Although you cannot sue the government for your illness, you can hold the manufacturers and companies that supplied asbestos to the military responsible. A knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyer can assist you in tracking down which companies supplied asbestos-related products to the military while you were in service.
Additional Help for Veterans Exposed to Asbestos
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness related to asbestos, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area.