Thousands of members of the United States Military have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during service. Because mesothelioma symptoms typically don’t occur until 20-50 years following exposure, veterans who served up until the 1980s may still be at risk today. U.S. Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for additional VA benefits, including VA healthcare and VA disability.
Because of the military’s widespread use of asbestos between 1930 and 1980, U.S. Veterans currently account for one out of every three new mesothelioma cases. Asbestos used to be highly regarded for its fireproofing and insulating capabilities, but experts now know of its harmful cancer-causing properties. Manufacturers knew of these dangers decades before the military and the general public, which is why, if you’re a Veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation.
Service Branch and Your Risk Factors
Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces used asbestos differently, meaning your risk level depends on which branch you served in.
Navy: The U.S. Navy used more asbestos-based products than any other branch. As a result, U.S. Navy veterans represent the largest group of service members diagnosed with mesothelioma. Navy veterans were often exposed to asbestos if they served on navy ships or worked in shipyards.
Coast Guard: The Coast Guard used a significant amount of asbestos to build its vessels and fireproof its ships.
Army: Asbestos-containing products used by U.S. Army Veterans include vehicle parts like brakes, as well as construction materials used to make bases (such as cement and paint). Asbestos exposure is still a risk for some Army soldiers serving overseas today.
Air Force: The Air Force relied on asbestos-based products to prevent military aircraft from catching fire, meaning U.S. Air Force Veterans who worked as pilots and mechanics were at risk of long-term asbestos exposure. Asbestos could be found aboard Air Force planes in:
- Electrical wiring
VA Disability Compensation
Typically, VA Disability Compensation pays over $3,000 each month to Veterans with mesothelioma. If you’re married or have dependent children, you may be entitled to more. To receive these disability benefits, you must have a signed diagnosis from your physician and be able to prove your asbestos exposure was connected to your service.
You may be eligible to receive a VA pension if you meet certain income or other criteria.
If you served before September 8, 1980, you must have logged at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during wartime. If you served after September 7, 1980, you must have served two full years or your entire period of active duty, with at least one day of service during wartime.
To qualify, your annual family income must be below $138,489 (as of December 2021). You also must be older than 65, permanently disabled, live in a nursing home, and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Shrader Law: Getting You the Mesothelioma Help You Deserve
If you’ve developed mesothelioma as a result of your time in the military, you may be owed compensation for the expenses related to your illness as well as the pain and suffering you’ve endured. Our team is experienced at working with the VA to process claims and can help answer any of your questions.
Contact our experienced team here at Shrader & Associates L.L.P. to learn more about how we can help with your case. Call us at (877) 958-7920 or fill out the online contact form to get in touch with a skilled attorney today.