You may not see or hear about it much often, but asbestos is a fibrous silicate mineral present in most things we use and interact with daily that also claims lives at an alarming rate.
The most frightening feature of this deadly toxin is that it’s a silent killer that takes years to show its effects. By that time, the condition is untreatable.
Globally, 90,000 people die from diseases related to asbestos each year, while 125 million people are at occupational risk of being exposed to asbestos-related conditions.
Asbestos was a commonly used mineral for new constructions in the army during the earlier years but was banned after the health issues started to rise.
The diseases related to asbestos can take decades to develop, so it is common for veterans to show symptoms years or decades after they have retired from the force.
If you are a veteran, know one, or have a veteran in your home going through an asbestos-related disease, you are eligible to receive benefits from the government.
The benefits offered can help the veterans financially during their time of need and aid in treating the diseases caused by exposure to asbestos.
Following are ways you can claim compensation for asbestos-related illnesses.
Benefits1-Compensation for Disability:
It is a monthly compensation based on the level of disability caused by the disease.
Among all asbestos-caused diseases, mesothelioma is the most lethal form of cancer caused due to the presence of asbestos on navy ships, Airbases, or other related places.
Patients with mesothelioma are eligible for maximum compensation of $3,106 per month if they’re single and $3,279 per month if married.
The amount can be increased depending on the number of dependants that the veteran has.
2-VA Health Care:
To enroll in the VA healthcare program, you can either opt for an income level-based admission or a confirmed service-based illness.
If the illness was diagnosed during active duty and because of the asbestos exposure, then the VA considers mesothelioma service.
Since mesothelioma can extract a fair amount of energy from the patient’s body and force them to stay at home, you could be eligible for housebound benefits.
Even if they want to go out, they can’t because their body won’t allow them to. The side effects of the treatment can also lead to the same result.
4-Dependency and Indemnity Compensation:
It is the monthly benefit that the spouse receives if the veteran dies of a service-related disease. If the cause of death was mesothelioma, the spouse gets $1,357.56 per month.
The benefits can be increased if the case is taken to court through an experienced lawyer in these circumstances.
5-Funeral & Burial Benefits:
If the veteran passes away, the veteran’s family can seek aid from the VA funeral and burial service and plan a burial or a memorial service for the deceased veteran at a VA national cemetery.
This compensation program covers the cost of the funeral and other related expenses.
The veteran’s families can apply for additional services such as the headstone, burial flags, and engraved memorial certificates to honor the departed.
6-Special Monthly Compensation (SMC):
This monthly compensation is a benefit paid over the disability compensation. Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure are eligible for this compensation.
Suppose the mesothelioma surgery leads to an organ removal or any disability; in that case, eligible veterans can use this compensation package to pay for hospital charges and the in-home care facility.
The pension plan consists of tax-free monthly benefits that a veteran can avail of and his regular income sources.
There are certain criteria for the veteran to be eligible for these benefits. For starters, a veteran must be older than 65 and be permanently disabled.
Second, the veteran must receive in-house nursing care and social security disability income.
How to file for a claim:
Filing for a claim to apply for compensation or claim can be a hassle, but now, it is relatively easy. The concerned parties can now make their claims without much running around.
Veterans with mesothelioma can file a claim as the Mesothelioma Veterans Center gives them the ease to do so from the comfort of their homes.
The staff will help you track down where the veteran might have been exposed to asbestos. The patient advocates for other veterans to make verification of the disease easier.
The claim form can be submitted online or in person. Once the claim is filed, it will go through a review process before deciding.
Usually, the process can take months to complete, so a congressman or senator is contacted to speed up the process. Every day is crucial in the life of a patient suffering from mesothelioma, so time is of the essence here.
No matter how you choose to apply for a claim, you need to fulfill some basic requirements to ensure that the process runs its course smoothly.
- Discharge Status: The veteran must be cleared from active military service in the Air Force, Marine Corps, Army, Navy, or Coast Guard under conditions other than dishonorable conduct.
- Exposure Summary: It includes the history of the veteran’s job rating, postings, professional experience, etc.
- Medical Evidence: There should be medical proof that active-duty exposed him to asbestos which eventually led to mesothelioma.
- Medical Documentation: The doctor must provide medical records that should indicate that asbestos exposure led to mesothelioma.
Veterans give a big portion of their lives to ensure that civilians can live peaceful and independent lives. It is the moral responsibility of the government to look after its heroes
If you know a veteran who might have been a victim of any health condition due to asbestos exposure, don’t waste time and start applying for these benefits as soon as possible.
Your prompt initiatives in this regard can help and change lives for the better.