Mesothelioma & Veterans

01. VA Benefits

Veterans’ Benefits for Mesothelioma

Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma can seek a variety of benefits. One way is through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).The VA offers healthcare benefits to veterans, as well as options for financial compensation. Eligible veterans can choose to seek VA disability benefits. They may also pursue compensation through other options.

Who Is Eligible for Compensation?

Any veteran diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease may be eligible for compensation. Family members of a veteran who died from an asbestos-related disease may also be eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC).

Compensation Options for Veterans With Mesothelioma

Veterans with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases may be eligible for compensation. Depending on an individual’s case, they may be able to pursue different compensation options.

VA Benefits

The VA offers compensation options for veterans with mesothelioma.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Veterans may be eligible to file a claim against an asbestos trust fund.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Veterans may be able to file a lawsuit against a solvent asbestos company.

Mesothelioma Settlements

Some companies may settle with a veteran to avoid going to court.

Compensation Options for Dependents of Veterans

Dependents of veterans may also be eligible for VA benefits. The family of a veteran who passed away from a service-related asbestos disease may be eligible for special VA benefits.

Dependency and indemnity compensation is a monthly benefit paid to the surviving spouse, child or other dependents of the veteran.

A surviving spouse of a veteran who died from mesothelioma may receive $1,357.56 in monthly compensation.

Asbestos-Related Diseases Qualified for VA Benefits

VA benefits may vary according to the severity of the asbestos-related disease. Veterans diagnosed with one of the following diseases may qualify for VA benefits:

Veteran compensation from the VA may vary based on the asbestos-related disease. Monthly VA disability compensation depends on a disability rating. The VA rates mesothelioma at 100% disability rating. With this rating, individuals with no dependents may receive upwards of $3,000 a month. A mesothelioma lawyer can help veterans determine the best benefit, or combinations of benefits, for their situation.

VA Rating for Common Asbestos-Related Diseases

Mesothelioma: 100% disability rating

Asbestos Lung Cancer: 100% disability rating

Asbestosis: 0 – 100% disability rating, depending on testing

02. Filing VA Claims

How to File a VA Claim

Veterans with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease will most likely file a claim for a post-service disability. Veterans filing a claim related to asbestos exposure file according to the VA’s “Exposure to Hazardous Materials” process. Veterans should speak with a mesothelioma lawyer to begin the process of filing a VA claim. Experienced mesothelioma law firms should have VA-accredited lawyers on their team to assist veterans through the VA claims process.

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What Is Required to File a VA Claim?

Resources for Mesothelioma Patients

We offer assistance to those navigating mesothelioma treatment decisions and medical-related financial difficulties. Click the links to learn more about help for veterans, experienced lawyers and financial support options.

Assistance for Veterans With Mesothelioma

Get help navigating VA Claims

Connect With a Mesothelioma Lawyer

Request a free 24-hour case evaluation

Financial Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients

Get help paying for treatment costs

03. Veteran Asbestos Exposure

Veterans and Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was commonly used in U.S. military bases, naval ships, equipment and vehicles. The mineral was largely used for fireproofing, heat resistance and durability purposes. The widespread use of asbestos puts veterans at higher risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

The military predominantly used asbestos from 1930 – 1980. Asbestos is still found in military bases and older equipment used today.

Military Locations With Asbestos Use

Asbestos was used to increase resistance to high heat, friction and chemical reactions. The need to combat these situations was common across all branches of the United States military in the 20th century. Some of the most dangerous locations with asbestos exposure were within sleeping quarters and on ships. These areas were often tight, small spaces, where asbestos fibers easily became highly concentrated when disturbed.

Researchers suggest ships were among the most dangerous sources of asbestos exposure for service members. Asbestos was widely used on ships. Damage to the asbestos materials could create highly concentrated areas of the carcinogenic fibers. Veterans in the U.S. Navy and other branches that spent time aboard ships, such as the U.S. Marine Corps, may have been exposed while at sea.

All veterans may have experienced exposure to asbestos products while in the military. However, common exposure scenarios may vary between military branches.

Common Places for Exposure to Asbestos in the Military

  • Aircrafts
  • Ammunition storage rooms
  • Machinery rooms
  • Mess halls
  • Military sleeping quarters and barracks
  • Military vehicles
  • Ships
  • Shipyards
  • Training facilities

Meso 2020 Veteran Ship Asbestos Risk

“Each time they fired the guns, the dust would fall into our beds.”

– Boilerman, E2, USS Uhlmann, 1959 – 1963, Navy Veteran

04. Exposure by Branch

Asbestos Exposure by Military Branch

Asbestos was used widely across the branches of the armed forces in the 20th century. Each veteran’s asbestos exposure scenario is unique. However, some common instances of exposure have occurred among members of the same service branch.

U.S. Navy

Navy veterans are often the most at risk of asbestos exposure. Ships, shipyards, engine and boiler rooms all contained asbestos. In these tight spaces, fibers could become highly concentrated and pose a higher exposure risk.

More About The U.S. NavyMore About The U.S. Navy
U.S. Air Force

Air force veterans are at high risk of asbestos exposure. During active duty, these veterans were often exposed to asbestos through plane machinery and living quarters.

More About the U.S. Air ForceMore About the U.S. Air Force
U.S. Marine Corps

Marine veterans faced asbestos exposure when aboard ships. Similar to Navy ships, marine vessels had asbestos in engine and boiler rooms.

More About the U.S. Marine CorpsMore About the U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard veterans were often exposed to asbestos through time spent aboard ships. Coast Guard Cutter crews are among the most at-risk Coast Guard veterans.

More About the U.S. Coast GuardMore About the U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Army

Army veterans were often exposed to asbestos while on base or through military vehicles. Without frequent time spent on ships, asbestos exposure may be less likely. However, any exposure can result in asbestos-related illnesses.

More About the U.S. ArmyMore About the U.S. Army
05. Other Asbestos Exposure

Other Asbestos Exposure Related to the Military

Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. The health risks related to asbestos exposure were well-known as early as the 1920s. However, veterans continued to be exposed for decades. The asbestos exposure didn’t end with the veterans or after their service commitment. Asbestos exposure among veterans harmed their families. Risk of asbestos exposure for veterans often continued after military service.

Secondary Asbestos Exposure From the Military
Secondary exposure involves asbestos fibers brought home on a person’s clothing, hair or body. Veterans may have exposed their loved ones to asbestos.
Examples of Secondary Exposure From the Military:

  • Riding in cars containing asbestos fibers
  • Cleaning military uniforms or other clothing worn during service, training or anytime on base
  • Hugging the veteran in their uniform or otherwise asbestos-contaminated clothing

Veteran Asbestos Exposure Following Service

Many service members found employment after the military in related fields. Veterans may have worked in the private sector as construction workers, mechanics or engineers, among others. These occupations are at high risk of asbestos exposure. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Continued long-term exposure can increase the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. 

06. Treatment for Veterans

Mesothelioma Treatment for Veterans

Veterans with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease are eligible for medical treatment at one of the many VA treatment centers across the United States.Due to the prevalence of veterans with asbestos diseases, many VA treatment centers specialize in the treatment of these diseases.


California has one of the highest incidence rates of mesothelioma in the country and was the site of many military bases. Currently, California has 32 military bases.

Veterans diagnosed with asbestos diseases in California may receive care from Dr. Robert Cameron at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.


Florida has more than 20 military bases. Veterans who served at other bases across the country may find themselves retired in the area.

Floridians affected by asbestos exposure related to the military may receive care from Dr. Nestor R. Villamizar Ortiz. He treats patients at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a short drive from the Miami VA Medical Center.

Veterans may also opt to receive care outside the VA system.

The VA may also provide financial assistance to veterans for travel and lodging related to treatment.

Find Mesothelioma Doctors and Cancer Centers Near You

Find Mesothelioma Doctors & Cancer Centers Near You

Treatment Options for Veterans Who Don’t Want to Travel

Veterans who do not want to travel or are unable to travel for treatment may participate in the Veterans Community Care Program (an updated version of the Veterans Choice Program).

The Veterans Community Care Program allows eligible veterans to receive care from a neighborhood provider or another mesothelioma specialist instead of through a VA facility. Program eligibility requirements are on the VA website.

VA Treatment Centers

There are more than 1,000 VA health care facilities in the United States. Veterans diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease may receive care at any of these specialized facilities. Many of these facilities collaborate with other expert cancer centers nearby. Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during their military service. Treatment and compensation options are available to those suffering after asbestos exposure.

West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

VA Boston Healthcare System

Common Questions About Mesothelioma and Veterans

What claim options are available specifically for veterans?

Veterans may file a VA claim to receive disability compensation as a result of their asbestos exposure and related diagnosis. Veterans may also be eligible to file a mesothelioma claim.

What is the time limit for filing a mesothelioma claim with the VA?

VA claims to receive disability compensation can be filed at any time. VA claims are separate from mesothelioma lawsuits, which involve a statute of limitations that varies by state.

Who is eligible for VA benefits?

Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma may be able to receive compensation through a disability claim. Spouses of veterans who have died from an asbestos-related illness as a result of their service may be eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC).

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