Throughout our history, the men and women of our military have bravely faced dangers to their health and safety that are unrelated to the battlefield. Unfortunately, they routinely bear the cost of exposure to diseases, chemicals and materials. Asbestos is no exception. All branches of the military have suffered some exposure to asbestos, though perhaps none so famously as the Navy during World War II and for decades afterward. Exposure continues to today, as middle eastern countries still routinely use asbestos in their buildings. So, what remedy do veterans have if they develop mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness?
Claims Through the VA
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established several types of benefits for veterans with a service-related mesothelioma claim. These include:
- Disability Compensation – Most veterans with a form of cancer caused by asbestos qualify for full disability. If you have another asbestos-related illness, the VA will make a determination of your level of disability.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) – If you are a surviving spouse or child of a veteran who died from mesothelioma, you may be entitled to a claim for monthly compensation.
- Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) – If you are homebound or bed-ridden, you may qualify for special assistance with your daily care.
In order to qualify for VA disability, you must show that your asbestos exposure was at least 50% related to your military service. Asbestos has been used in many military buildings, ships, vehicles and aircraft.
What If You Don’t Qualify for Disability?
If you cannot show a relationship of your mesothelioma to asbestos exposure through the military, you may not qualify for disability through the VA. The VA does offer a pension claim, however, for veterans who develop mesothelioma from some other source. The amount of your pension is based on your income.
Pursuing Litigation For Your Illness
In addition to seeking VA benefits, you may also decide to bring a lawsuit to recover damages from your illness. The companies who manufactured and supplied asbestos for the military’s use still bear responsibility for the risk you faced.