Credits

Feb 16 2019

Mesothelioma – Veterans: VA Claims Help for Asbestos Victims

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Veterans and Mesothelioma

Understanding VA Claims and Other Benefits for Veterans

Every veteran discharged “under conditions other than dishonorable” has a right to VA benefits, including health care, monthly compensation and survivor benefits for their loved ones.

The Veterans Department at The Mesothelioma Center specializes in helping people navigate the complicated VA claims process. Former U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Munz has the resources to guide you each step along the way.

The VA recognizes mesothelioma as a service-connected medical condition. We can help you gather evidence to prove your disease is asbestos-related and show the majority of your exposures to asbestos occurred during your military service. We also can help you explore other potential avenues of compensation.

Former Army Capt. Aaron Munz served nine years in combat and strategic training before leaving active duty in 2006.

Types of VA benefits

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a monthly benefit paid to the surviving spouse of a veteran who died from a service-related disability. The benefit is $1,195. If the veteran already was receiving Disability Compensation for mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer when he died, the spouse needs to file a DIC claim.

If the veteran was not receiving service-related compensation, the spouse still may be eligible for DIC, provided additional information regarding asbestos exposure can be produced.

VA Health Care

Eligibility for VA health care is based on a series of priorities, including service-related disabilities and income levels. There also are special circumstances.

For veterans with an asbestos-related illness, enrollment would be tied to a determination the illness was service related or to income level. The VA uses two different income limits: A National Income Threshold and a Geographical-Adjusted Income Threshold. Qualifying under the income level category may require copays for health services.

Disability Compensation

Disability Compensation is a monthly benefit based on a veteran’s level of disability. The VA rates the level of disability from zero to 100 percent and provides more compensation for higher disability ratings.

Cancers such as mesothelioma are considered 100 percent disabling. This would qualify a veteran for the maximum monthly benefit, which starts at $2,800. Benefits may increase based on the veteran’s number of dependents.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

Special Monthly Compensation is a benefit available to veterans who are bedridden, housebound or disabled enough to need the aid and attendance of another person. This benefit is also available to spouses and parents of veterans.

The amount of monthly SMC awarded depends on how much aid and attendance is necessary, but it often ranges from $250 to $650 a month.

Common VA Claims Myths

After years of providing help for veterans with mesothelioma, we’ve found some veterans and their loved ones have misconceptions about VA benefits that prevent them from filing a claim — even when they qualify.

Unfortunately, veterans who mistakenly think they are ineligible miss out on quality health care and vital financial assistance.

One common myth is veterans can’t file a VA claim because they developed an asbestos-related condition after their military discharge. Diseases related to asbestos exposure can take decades to develop, so if veterans can prove their asbestos exposure was service connected, they qualify for VA benefits.

Another misconception is only veterans of the five main branches of military are eligible for benefits. VA benefits are extended to commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Environmental Services Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its precursor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Understand Your VA Claim


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