Veterans & Mesothelioma

If a veteran has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and they got the cancer from their service or work in the military, they are eligible for benefits and help from the U.S. government.

Asbestos Use in the Military

Every branch of the armed forces made use of products containing asbestos in one form or another. Asbestos was lauded as the best insulator (at the best prices) on the market for decades. It could be found throughout ships, planes, vehicles, equipment, and more. Anyone who served and was exposed also risked carrying asbestos fibers home on their clothing and other belongings, inadvertently exposing their loved ones, as well.

The more confined an area in which someone served, the more likely they are to develop mesothelioma. Because this cancer has a latency period of 20-50 years, many veterans who served from WWII all the way through the Vietnam War are only starting to see diagnoses come through.

Asbestos covered pipes, boilers, and gaskets; it filled cement mixes; the fibers hung in the air, constantly inhaled or ingested. Even after the dangers were made public, finding asbestos-infused equipment took decades. Today, several forms of asbestos still exist within the armed forces. New safety measures help to mitigate the risk of active duty soldiers, but the risk is still there.

While several countries have banned all uses of asbestos, the US and a few outliers have yet to do so. Additionally, some countries do not have laws on the books for protection against harmful uses of asbestos, which can put our active duty members at risk when they are in these countries. Many citizens are aware of the dangers soldiers face, but few realize that asbestos exposure is still a part of that list.

Mesothelioma and VA Benefits

The US Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases as service-related medical conditions. While veterans cannot seek compensation by suing the US government, they can take care of a myriad of benefits set aside for them within the structure of the VA.

To assist veterans and veterans’ families affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the VA has set aside funds to help with medical and living expenses. Veterans are entitled to a monthly stipend from the VA; at times, surviving family members can also make use of these claims to help with expenses after a loved one has passed away.

The VA can also help veterans with their insurance, medical care, and other aspects of their treatment. Veterans should contact their local VA branch and speak with a claims agent to begin the process. These agents can help with the process, including any paperwork and required documentation.

Understanding the Types of Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma

This cancer develops in the lining of the lungs and accounts for about 75 percent of the diagnosed cases.

Understanding the Types of Mesothelioma

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 20 percent of mesothelioma cases and is the second most common type.

Understanding the Types of Mesothelioma

Pericardial Mesothelioma

This is the most rare form, making up around 1 percent of cases, and attacks the lining of the heart.

Filing a Claim with the VA

Veterans are entitled to a number of benefits such as life insurance, medical care and even compensation for injuries that they may be suffering from. But, they will need to file a claim if they are dealing with mesothelioma related to any asbestos exposure that they had during their active duty.

There are a few different ways that you can go about filing your claim. You may want to have the claim adjudicated. This will go through the standard process. If not, you might want to file a claim that is expedited. This will fall under the rules related to a fully developed claim. It will be best to work with a professional at the VA to help you determine which process will be the best for you.


Veterans Service Representatives (VSRs) are professionals that work within the VA. They are able to help you for free and they will be able to make the process less confusing for you. There are even times when the process will be successful because of their help. You are going to have a lot less stress when you have their help and you will be more relaxed.

Eligibility and the Claims Process

There are a few different requirements that must be met if an individual would like to file a claim. First off, the individual has to be diagnosed with mesothelioma and they must have paperwork to prove this. They also must have been discharged from the service honorably.

The process:

  1. The asbestos exposure summary must be completed, and other forms must be submitted. Any medical records that can help to support this should also be attached. If there is a report from the biopsy then this should be included.
  2. Next, the VA is going to review all of the forms.
  3. There may be times when you will need to go through an exam at your local VA, but this may be skipped if you have worked with a claims agent.
  4. When the records have been evaluated the VA will make a decision related to the compensation that the individual may be entitled to.
  5. You are going to receive a check for the amount of time between the time your claim was submitted and approved. Then you will receive a check on the first of every month.

The VA is going to determine the amount of exposure to asbestos you had as a civilian compared to the exposure you had while in the military. This is actually very important to your claim. You can work with an agent to help you set up this summary without paying anything.

Benefits & Compensation Through the VA

There are a few things that are going to be considered when it comes to identifying the compensation that someone is entitled to through the VA when they file mesothelioma claims. First off, they are going to identify if the claim is related to an illness before, during or after service. Most of the time, these claims will be considered after your service.

There must be proof that you were exposed during your military service. A claims agent can help with this.

The VA is going to need to know if you have a spouse or any dependents. Veterans who are single can get over $2,900 a month in compensation. However, they can get more if they have a spouse and children. If you are housebound, or you need an aid, you may be able to get more each month as well— each situation is different.

VA Caregiver Support

If you are a caregiver, then you most likely need some support of your own and the VA will recognize this. There are some programs that they may offer to you such as adult day health care centers, home-based care and respite care.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) may be given to the survivors of veterans that died in service or from complications that they received while they were in service. In order for you to be eligible, your loved one must have been discharged without dishonor.

Other available options

In addition to the VA programs, veterans can also take advantage of other legal resources for compensation involving the manufacturers who provided the asbestos-related products to the military. Organizations throughout the nation have also sprung up to provide support and resources for anyone diagnosed or who has a loved one diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Many of these organizations and support groups were formed by veterans and their families to help others facing the same struggles they did.

To learn all of the resources at your disposal, consider contacting a mesothelioma attorney. These folks have dedicated their careers to helping victims of asbestos exposure make the best of a bad situation, ensuring they are able to take advantage of all available resources. For more information, fill out our free consultation form. A top-rated attorney will contact you to discuss your options.

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