VA Asbestos-Related Disability Compensation
Veterans who suffer from medical conditions related to their military service are eligible for compensation from the Department of Veterans affairs (VA). Most often, the VA treats medical conditions arising from traumatic injuries while serving overseas on the battlefield or in the line of duty.
Additionally, the VA treats asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma or asbestosis, as these conditions may have been the result of day-to-day interactions with asbestos-contaminated equipment. These VA benefits provide important resources to veterans suffering from these devastating asbestos-related diseases including vital medical treatment.
Prevalence of Asbestos in the Military
Military veterans who served before the 1980s are at particularly high risk of developing asbestos-related diseases as they are more likely to have worked with asbestos-contaminated materials. The risk comes from the prevalence of asbestos used in machinery and insulation due to the substance’s resistance to high temperatures and fire.
While asbestos was used in a wide variety of military applications, it was extremely common in naval applications aboard warships and shipyards. Often times, veterans exposed to asbestos do not develop serious medical conditions until many years after service and many of those affected by asbestosis and mesothelioma served many decades ago.
Process to Claim VA Benefits
The first step to obtain disability benefits from the VA is to file a claim with VA Form 21-526. After receiving the claim, VA officials examine the veteran’s military service and medical records to determine what, if any, medical condition the petitioner may have.
In order to prove a case for benefits, claimants must demonstrate:
â— He or she suffers from a current medical condition;
â— An event or condition occurred;
â— The event or condition occurred during military service (for asbestos-related claims, this often occurs as a result of service on a naval ship or through work at a shipyard); and
â— A causal connection between the event and current condition.
The claims process may take as long as four months but veterans may expedite the petition by providing as much evidence as possible about their disability. Often times, the VA will ask veterans making disability claims to submit to an examination at a nearby VA hospital.
Once a claim is processed, claimant is issued a disability rating to determine benefit rates. Veterans are given a score of 0 to 100, in increments of 10. Disability ratings typically take an additional two to three months to finalize.
After a decision is made, the VA provides the claimant will all of the reasons for the denial or acceptance of the disability claim. It is important to keep in mind that the decision may be appealed.
Help for Veterans Suffering from Mesothelioma
If you served in the military and were diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition or disease, you may be able to file claims for VA benefits. Contact an attorney with knowledge in this specialized area for more information about methods of recovery. At the Throneberry Law Group, we would be happy to use our experience and expertise to help you.