Life as a military veteran comes with numerous challenges—emotional, psychological and financial. To help veterans pay their medical bills, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays an annual pension. In late December, the VA announced that it is increasing the Maximum Annual Pension Rates for 2021.
One tragic consequence that many former service members experience is mesothelioma contracted from exposure to asbestos, whether in the line of duty or as a civilian. This sum provides a much-needed opportunity for veterans who contracted mesothelioma as civilians to receive treatment and pay for other expenses related to their illness.
New Year, New Rate
The Maximum Annual Pension Rate caps the amount of yearly benefits that veterans can receive. At the beginning of every December, the VA publicly announces new Maximum Annual Pension Rates for the upcoming year. This year, it announced that it would raise the rate by 1.3% for a minimum of $13,931. This rate will remain fixed until December of next year when the VA announces its figures for 2022.
VA Benefits and Mesothelioma: What to Know
Unlike VA Disability Compensation, VA Pensions are not connected to a veteran’s service. This means that if a veteran contracts mesothelioma as a civilian, they may still recover benefits and put them toward their mesothelioma-related costs. However, VA Disability Comp tends to pay higher monthly sums than VA pensions. This makes it an appealing option for many veterans, especially because numerous service members developed their mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure in the line of duty.
Benefits Cannot Undo an Illness
It is far too common for veterans, particularly senior citizens, to develop mesothelioma. Whether contracted due to asbestos exposure as an active-duty service member or as a civilian, no vet should have to endure the life-altering consequences of this terrible illness. Collecting VA benefits is just one form of compensation available to veterans who have an asbestos-related illness. VA benefits cannot undo the damage wrought by asbestos, but it is a way for the U.S. to thank veterans for serving their country.