Mesothelioma & Veterans

All U.S. military branches used asbestos between the 1930s and early 1980s in ships, bases, and vehicles. Many U.S. veterans are at a high risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases as a result. In fact, veterans account for one-third of all mesothelioma patients. Veterans with mesothelioma can receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), medical care, and financial compensation.

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Veterans Benefits for Mesothelioma

Veterans can develop mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos fibers during their military service. Thankfully, the VA offers a wide range of benefits to veterans that developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other health problems.

VA benefits can award monthly financial compensation to help veterans pay for basic living expenses. Veterans can also get medical care for free or at a reduced cost through the VA Health Care System.

Did You Know?

Veterans with mesothelioma typically receive a 100% disability rating from the VA. This means they receive the highest VA disability compensation payouts and have the lowest co-pays for military health care services.

Mesothelioma Resource Group patient advocates can help you and your family pursue veterans benefits right now. Learn more in our free mesothelioma guide.

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You can also learn about the mesothelioma veterans benefits that you may be able to access with a VA claim below.

VA Disability Compensation

VA disability benefits award money to veterans who have a service-related health problem. As of 2022, VA disability compensation awards married veterans with mesothelioma $3,517.84 per month.

Veterans can receive higher disability payouts if they have other dependent family members.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

Mesothelioma veterans may qualify for special monthly compensation (SMC) if they have a severe disability (such as the loss of a limb, sight, or the ability to care for themselves).

SMC is awarded in addition to VA disability compensation.

VA Health Care

Veterans with mesothelioma can get top medical treatment from the VA Health Care System. The VA has partnered with some of the world’s best mesothelioma doctors who can treat veterans at medical facilities across the country.

Mesothelioma veterans often receive the lowest VA health care co-pay rates.

VA Pension

Like a VA disability claim, military pension plans also give veterans monthly compensation. Some veterans may qualify for a higher pension payout called Aid and Attendance (A&A) if they need help with daily living due to a disability.

However, only veterans who are below the poverty line may qualify for these benefits. A VA-accredited service officer, representative, or attorney can determine if you qualify for VA pension payouts or A&A benefits.

Survivor Benefits

Surviving spouses, children, and other family members may qualify for benefits if a veteran with mesothelioma passes away. These include benefits like Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which is available if a veteran died during active duty or from a service-related injury or illness.

Family members may also qualify for a survivors pension if they make less than a certain amount of money per year.

Private Benefits for Mesothelioma Veterans

Outside of VA benefits, veterans with mesothelioma can also pursue financial aid from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. These manufacturers knew that asbestos was harmful back in the 1930s, yet said nothing — putting millions of people at risk of asbestos-related diseases.

Veterans can get compensation from manufacturers by filing a private mesothelioma claim. The average mesothelioma claim awards between $1 million and $11.4 million, with some receiving even more.

Certain manufacturers also established asbestos trust funds, which pay out money to those with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. More than $30 billion in total is available in asbestos trust funds right now.

Filing private claims won’t affect your eligibility to get mesothelioma VA benefits. Further, you won’t take legal action against the U.S. government or military.

Filing a VA Mesothelioma Benefits Claim

Filing a mesothelioma veterans claim is easier with the right help. A VA-accredited representative (like a lawyer or service officer) can gather the information you need to file a mesothelioma VA claim and help you pursue benefits.

To file a mesothelioma veterans claim, you’ll need:

  • Evidence that you were exposed to asbestos while in the military
  • Medical records confirming your mesothelioma diagnosis
  • Military service records

Once you have the proper evidence, you can file your VA benefits claim online.

Many cases of mesothelioma develop 10 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. Because of this, you might not precisely remember when or where you were exposed to asbestos. But rest assured that our team can find out where you were exposed and gather the information needed to file a mesothelioma claim if you qualify.

Get more information in our free mesothelioma guide.

Free 2022 Mesothelioma Guide
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How Did the U.S. Military Use Asbestos?

Every branch of the military used asbestos — the only known cause of mesothelioma — for much of the 20th century. Veterans asbestos exposure was rampant because of this.

The military relied on asbestos-containing products like insulation, gaskets, and tiling since they were very durable, fireproof, and cheap. In fact, there was once a government mandate on asbestos, requiring it to be used aboard almost all Navy ships and military buildings.

Asbestos was used in:

  • Building products
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Military bases
  • Planes, helicopters, and other aircraft
  • Ships

While anyone who was exposed is in danger of mesothelioma, veterans that directly worked with asbestos-based products on a daily basis are at a higher risk.

Learn how each military branch used asbestos — and how veterans were put at risk — below.

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Navy

Navy veterans are at the highest risk of mesothelioma as the Navy used more asbestos than all other branches of the Armed Forces. Virtually every Navy ship built before the early 1980s contained asbestos. Because of this, one-third of all mesothelioma cases involve Navy or shipyard asbestos exposure.

Over 300 asbestos-containing products were used by the U.S. Navy between 1940 and the 1970s alone, including turbines, valves, and miles of insulation.

Many Navy ships were poorly ventilated, which meant that asbestos fibers could stay in the air for hours if disturbed. Among those at a very high risk of asbestos exposure on Navy ships were pipefitters and boiler room workers, as they had to install and repair asbestos parts on a regular basis.

Navy shipyard workers were also at a higher risk of asbestos exposure because they had to build, renovate, and demolish ships that contained asbestos. All of these activities could kick asbestos fibers up into the air that shipyard workers breathed in.

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Army

The U.S. Army used asbestos in bases, vehicles, and other assets. In Army bases and buildings, asbestos could be found in insulation, paint, and ceiling and floor tiles, so those who worked on or around them were at risk of exposure.

There’s even a modern-day risk of exposure as some older Army buildings still have asbestos in them. For example, families living on Army base housing in Texas filed a lawsuit over asbestos, mold, and other toxins in 2021. In this case, the families sued the private company that managed the housing, not the Army or U.S. government.

Army vehicles like jeeps, tanks, and trucks also used asbestos-containing materials like brake pads and clutches. These parts released asbestos fibers into the air as they were installed, removed, or worn down, putting Army mechanics at risk of exposure.

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Air Force

Air Force service members were put at risk of mesothelioma since many planes, helicopters, and other aircraft used asbestos-containing materials. This included brakes, heat shields, wires, and helicopter cooling systems.

Air Force personnel at a higher risk of exposure included mechanics that regularly had to install, remove, or repair asbestos-based airplane parts.

Dozens of Air Force bases were also built with asbestos-based materials, too, which put construction workers, carpenters, and other personnel in danger.

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Marine Corps

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps could have been exposed to asbestos in different ways depending on their assignment. For example, Marine Corps members that were stationed aboard Navy ships may have been exposed in similar ways to Navy veterans.

Marine Corps bases were also built with many asbestos-containing materials, most notably pipe insulation. Marines that were involved in building and maintaining bases were at a higher risk of exposure as a result.

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Coast Guard

Like the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard also used asbestos in most of its vessels. This put Coast Guardsmen at increased risk of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma later in life.

Coast Guard ships were built with asbestos-containing materials for fireproofing and durability. Floor tiles and insulation were just a few of the many asbestos products found on Coast Guard vessels.

Secondary Asbestos Exposure From the Military

U.S. military personnel weren’t the only ones at risk of asbestos exposure. Their family members could have also been exposed secondhand.

For example, families could have been exposed if they lived on a military base with a service member. If the service member worked with or around asbestos, they could come back to their living quarters covered in fibers. The fibers could then put their loved ones at risk of mesothelioma later in life.

There are many past cases where spouses, children, and other relatives have developed asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma due to secondhand exposure.

Help is available after a mesothelioma diagnosis. You may qualify for VA benefits, financial aid, and medical care. Call (888) 360-2406 right now to find out your eligibility.

Mesothelioma Treatment for Veterans

Veterans with mesothelioma need top treatment to live as long as possible with this cancer since it’s so aggressive.

Thankfully, veterans can pursue treatment options from the VA Health Care System. The VA works with top mesothelioma doctors who can properly diagnose and treat this cancer. Learn about some of the top VA cancer centers treating mesothelioma below.

West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

Mesothelioma veterans on the West Coast can get treated at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. This medical center’s mesothelioma program is led by Dr. Robert Cameron, one of the world’s leading mesothelioma specialists.

Dr. Cameron has been working with the VA since 1998 and has decades of experience treating pleural mesothelioma (the most common type of this cancer, which forms in the lung lining).

Dr. Cameron also invented a groundbreaking surgery called the pneumonectomy with decortication (P/D) for pleural mesothelioma, which has since become one of the most effective treatments for this cancer.

Disclaimer

Mesothelioma Resource Group has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Robert B. Cameron. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Cameron directly.

VA Boston Health Care System

The VA Boston Health Care System treats mesothelioma patients in association with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is also located in Boston. Pleural mesothelioma is the main type of mesothelioma treated at this facility.

The VA Boston Health Care System’s mesothelioma treatment program was led by Dr. Avi Lebenthal, a renowned cancer doctor, until his departure in June 2022.

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

Based in Houston, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center treats mesothelioma patients under the direction of Dr. Lorraine Cornwell.

This medical center also works closely with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, which is home to renowned mesothelioma specialists like Dr. Taylor Ripley and Dr. Eugene A. Choi.

All three of these mesothelioma doctors — along with many others — work together to help patients with both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma (which forms in the abdominal lining).

Help for Veterans With Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma veterans deserve financial aid and high-quality health care. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to access both.

The VA offers monthly financial payouts and low-cost medical care for veterans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Remember: mesothelioma VA benefits can pay out thousands of dollars each month.

Further, veterans and their loved ones can seek more compensation by filing private claims with help from a mesothelioma lawyer. Private mesothelioma legal claims often award $1 million or more depending on the unique factors in each case.

Mesothelioma Resource Group can help veterans like you access VA benefits, financial compensation, and top treatments faster. Get a free case review to find out your eligibility.

FAQs About Veterans and Mesothelioma

Is mesothelioma a VA disability?

Yes. If you developed mesothelioma after working with or around asbestos during your service, you can file a VA disability claim.

How much compensation you’ll receive depends on your disability rating. Other veterans with mesothelioma typically receive a 100% disability rating since this cancer is very aggressive. A 100% disability rating will allow you to get the highest rates of VA disability compensation — $3,517.84 a month or more if you’re married.

Our team can help you collect the information needed to file a mesothelioma veterans disability claim. Call (888) 360-2406 to find out your eligibility.

Are there deadlines on filing mesothelioma VA claims?

There are no deadlines to file a mesothelioma veterans claim with the VA. However, it’s often in your best interest to file as soon as possible. Doing so will allow you to start receiving your mesothelioma VA benefits quickly.

For best results, work with a VA-accredited representative like a lawyer to file your mesothelioma VA claim. By doing so, you can avoid mistakes that could delay your claim.

Can you file VA claims for other asbestos-related diseases?

Yes. You may be able to receive VA benefits for asbestos-caused illnesses like lung cancer and asbestosis. You can also pursue private benefits for these diseases, too. Get a free case review now to learn if you’re eligible.

Does the military still use asbestos?

The military no longer uses asbestos in new projects. However, some older military buildings and ships still contain asbestos in the present day.

The USS Mount Whitney, which was commissioned in the early 1970s, had 21 tons of asbestos insulation removed from its hull in 2015 — long after the dangers of asbestos were known.

Further, U.S. Army Fort Campbell had several World War II-era buildings on its base demolished in 2021. Those supervising the job had to properly remove asbestos-containing materials in the buildings first before destroying them.

Mesothelioma Symptoms was founded by a team of advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. We help give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma.

13 References
  1. Babich, J. (2021, May 11). ‘Never intended to be permanent:’ Fort Campbell bulldozes World War II era buildings. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/2021/05/11/fort-campbell-bulldozes-world-war-ii-era-buildings/4536509001/

  2. Benefits.gov. (n.d.). Survivors’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/290

  3. Keith, M. (2021, October 19). Gas leaks, rodents, asbestos: 10 military families in Texas sued their landlord over unsafe living conditions in base housing. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/military-families-sue-landlord-over-unsafe-living-conditions-base-housing-2021-10

  4. Lexis Legal News. (2021, July 30). Asbestos Verdicts & Settlements: January 2020 – December 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/65302/asbestos-verdicts-settlements-january-2020-december-2020

  5. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. (2019, November 11). Meet the meso experts: Mesothelioma program at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.curemeso.org/get-involved/meet-the-mesothelioma-experts-podcast-broadcast-series/mesothelioma-program-at-veterans-affairs-medical-center-in-houston-texas/

  6. Research Triangle Institute. (n.d.). Asbestos: Industry Profile. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-07/documents/asbestos_ip.pdf

  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, May). VA Pension Program and Representation. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/limitedincome/pensionprogram-and-representation.pdf

  8. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). 2022 VA health care copay rates. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/health-care/copay-rates/

  9. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). 2022 Veterans Disability Compensation Rates. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/

  10. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). Eligibility for veterans pension. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/

  11. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). Va aid and attendance benefits and housebound allowance. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/

  12. U.S. Supreme Court. (2018, May). Air & Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-1104/52622/20180709143544196_17-1104%20JA%20Vol.%20I.pdf

  13. Viktor Lenac Shipyard. (2017). USS Mount Whitney LCC-20 – references – mastership. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://lenac.hr/Mastership/References/Uss-Mount-Whitney-LCC-20/

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