Throughout the 20th century, the United States Armed Forces used asbestos products extensively, meaning that hundreds of thousands of veterans were exposed to high levels of asbestos during their service, As a result, thousands of veterans have developed mesothelioma.
Luckily, veterans can receive medical benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for injuries sustained during their service by filing a claim. For most injuries, the actual amounts of health coverage, compensation, pension and survivor's benefits depend on certain criteria. To receive benefits for mesothelioma, the claims must show proof of asbestos exposure that stems directly from the military.
Unfortunately, the VA claims system is notoriously complex, which makes receiving benefits challenging. The VA's triage system ranks the claims on a scale of one to eight, with one being the highest priority. Veterans with mesothelioma are not on the scale, given that the VA does not consider mesothelioma to be a service-related injury. This leaves veterans waiting for long periods of time to hear whether their claim will be approved for health care services. However, once they are approved, veterans will typically receive disability compensation, giving them access to hundreds of medical and treatment centers.
Some organizations can help veterans file the paperwork necessary for the benefit program. Veterans Helping Veterans and Cancer Watchdog offer free assistance to veterans and their loved ones during their time in need after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. These two outlets have found much success ensuring proper treatment and medical care is offered to veterans suffering from cancer from asbestos exposure during their service. While they can't make any guarantees, they can help expedite the process.
Mesothelioma is a disease that typically has a poor prognosis, so there may not be much time to waste. If you are a veteran, use these programs to file your claims and get the benefits you deserve.