Peritoneal Mesothelioma and VA Benefits

Many people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos are eligible to file a lawsuit to receive financial compensation. However, some of the options available to others are not available to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans are restricted from filing lawsuits against the U.S. government for incidents that occurred while they were on active duty, including exposure to asbestos.

While veterans may be able to file a suit against asbestos manufacturers and mining companies, the primary means of receiving care and compensation is through the Veterans Administration (VA). VA benefits are generally available to all veterans except those who were released from service under a dishonorable discharge.

Filing for VA Benefits

Veterans who are diagnosed with any service-related medical condition or disease that prevents them from working or engaging in regular physical activity may be entitled to disability compensation. Mesothelioma is listed as one of the diseases that qualifies a veteran as disabled, but the veteran must apply for benefits using form VA 21-526.

Veterans with mesothelioma must take additional steps to verify their disability that other disabled veterans may not have to complete. This includes providing the specifics of each instance that the veteran was exposed to asbestos while an active member of the armed forces. The veteran will also have to detail work history prior to the start of active duty and after active duty had ended. Many veterans find this extra step very difficult to complete because their service may have occurred decades earlier. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can be hired to help in the process.

All of these steps for filing are necessary because the Veterans Administration must have evidence that three situations have occurred for the veteran with mesothelioma to be eligible for disability compensation. The three types of evidence required are as follows:

  • Mesothelioma resulted from or was made worse during active military service.
  • Mesothelioma has been professionally diagnosed by a reputable doctor.
  • Disability is a direct result of mesothelioma.

Other VA Benefits

Even if a veteran does not qualify for disability compensation, he or she may be eligible for other VA benefits. Some veterans may qualify for a VA pension or for VA health services. A VA pension may provide valuable financial assistance in a time of great need. VA health services can also be an important benefit for veterans who do not have health insurance or any other means to pay for mesothelioma treatment. These benefits are based on current income and personal assets, so not every veteran will be able to take advantage of them. In addition, a veteran may not take a VA pension and VA disability compensation at the same time. If a veteran qualifies for both benefits, the higher monthly payment will be awarded.

If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be able to receive VA benefits. For further information about assistance in filing for VA benefits, simply complete and submit the form on this page.