Percentage of Mesothelioma Diagnoses Among Veterans
Branches of the Military in the 20th Century Used Asbestos
Highest Risk Years for Asbestos Exposure in the Military
Compensation, Trust Funds & Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Veterans With Mesothelioma
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 various veterans benefits for mesothelioma, including healthcare and 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.
The VA offers compensation options for veterans with mesothelioma. Individuals may be eligible for different VA claim and compensation options.
VA Disability Compensation
Veterans with a service-related disability may be eligible for monthly disability compensation. This benefit covers mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for VA pension benefits. To be eligible, veterans must meet the age and disability criteria and certain income and net worth limitations.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
Veterans with certain disabilities, or special circumstances around their disabilities, may be eligible for additional monthly compensation. Family members such as spouses may also be eligible.
Other Compensation Options for Veterans
Mesothelioma 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 (DIC) is a monthly benefit. The surviving spouse, child or other dependents of the veteran may receive DIC.
A surviving spouse of a veteran who died from mesothelioma may receive $1,437.66 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:
VA Rating for Common Asbestos-Related Diseases
100% disability rating
Asbestos Lung Cancer:
100% disability rating
0 – 100% disability rating, depending on testing
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.
Did You Know?
02. Filing VA Claims
How to File an Asbestos VA Claim
Veterans with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease will most likely file a VA claim for a post-service disability. 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.
What Is Required to File a VA Claim?
- Evidence of an asbestos-related diagnosis due to asbestos exposure in the military
- Honorable discharge
03. Veteran Asbestos Exposure
Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos was commonly used in U.S. military branches. 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 use was common across all branches of the U.S. military in the 20th century. The mineral was used in aircraft, equipment, military bases and ships.
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. According to an industry report, 55% of mesothelioma claims filed in 2021 alleging military exposure listed the Navy as a jobsite.
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
“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.
Did You Know?
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. Risk of asbestos exposure for veterans also 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:
- 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
- Riding in cars containing asbestos fibers
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 country. Many VA treatment centers specialize in the treatment of mesothelioma and asbestos-related 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 more than 30 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.
Treatment Options for Veterans Who Don’t Want to Travel
Veterans who do not want to travel or are unable to travel for treatment have options. They 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.
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.
West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
- This VA center partners with the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at UCLA Health.
- Doctors are experienced in treating sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
- The program’s mesothelioma surgery expertise includes pleurectomy/decortication.
VA Boston Healthcare System
- This VA center is a leader in pleural mesothelioma treatment.
- The facility collaborates with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a renowned mesothelioma treatment center.
- VA Boston’s mesothelioma surgery expertise includes extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).
07. Common Questions
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 statutes of limitations that vary by state.
- Who is eligible for VA benefits?
Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma may be able to receive compensation through a VA 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).
- Is mesothelioma a VA disability?
The VA considers mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases as service-related disabilities. Veterans diagnosed with an asbestos illness may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA. The amount of compensation will vary based on several factors, including the specific diagnosis. This compensation can help cover medical expenses.
- Does the military still use asbestos?
U.S. military branches no longer actively use asbestos. The mineral was widely used across nearly all branches until the late 1970s. Old uses of asbestos may still be present at military bases, in old equipment and on ships.