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How to win a VA disability claim

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on February 18th, 2020

For decades, Army personnel was kept in the dark about asbestos and the potential health risks it poses until the government issued guidelines to limit asbestos exposure in the 1970s. However, by the time the U.S Armed Forces began removing asbestos products, the damage had been already done.

Until the 1970s, asbestos was used in hundreds of products utilized in the military because of their ability to keep fire and heat under control. Therefore, it was found in everything from military vehicles to ships to the basic construction materials used all over military bases.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs says that veterans who served in certain occupations have a high risk of developing health problems from asbestos exposure. Specifically, the VA notes that the asbestos exposure risk was greatest for those veterans involved in the shipyard work, insulation work, pipefitting, tearing down or renovating older buildings, carpentry and construction, manufacturing and installation of products like flooring and roofing, servicing of various friction products such as brake lining and clutch facings. VA benefits are now available for veterans affected by asbestos exposure throughout their time of service.

Successfully pinpointing and pursuing compensation through the department of veterans affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides financial, medical, and other assistance to veterans with illnesses caused by asbestos exposure. To be eligible for VA benefits, veterans must have actively served full-time as a member of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy, and received an honorable or general discharge. The VA will also need records of asbestos exposure to determine if your disease or disability is directly related to asbestos exposure during time served in the military.

Recommendation for winning a VA Disability Benefits claim:

  • Recognize the problem when it arises. Inhalation of asbestos dust or airborne asbestos fibers result in the development of one or more of the following recognized asbestos conditions:
  • File your claim as soon as possible. The lack of any statute regarding limitations in filing a claim for disability compensation for veterans or other VA benefits, allows veterans to file claims for asbestos-related diseases manifesting many years after service. However, the sooner you apply, the sooner you'll get the benefits you deserve.
  • Obtain your own medical expert report connecting your disability to service. If you are seeking to establish a service connection, you will want to obtain a medical opinion stating that your disability is related to your military service.
  • Provide relevant evidence. You can improve the likelihood of receiving a favorable decision by including all necessary information in your claim, like your DD 214 or other separation documents, evidence of a current disability, your service treatment records that support your claim, and any medical evidence related to your illness or injury (doctor's reports, X-rays, and medical lab or test results). An experienced lawyer will be able to gather the necessary evidence and ensure the claim is strong before being submitted.
  • Statements from your friends and family can help your claim.
  • Keep copies of your claims file, including your service treatment records and post-service treatment records.
  • Do not limit your claim to one diagnosis. If a veteran suffers from multiple illnesses as a consequence of asbestos exposure, they can request financial compensation for each.
  • Don't accept "no" for an answer. Many applicants hire a VA certified disability attorney to help them prove their case. If you want your VA disability benefits claim done right, contact an attorney who specializes in asbestos-related cases.
  • If your Veteran's disability claim has been denied, file an appeal.

Environmental Litigation Group knows what it takes to win your case and get you the compensation you deserve

If you think you may have a claim, contact Environmental Litigation Group today, free of charge and in confidence, to discuss how we can help you and your family identify all your options for pursuing compensation. We have spent more than 25 years demanding maximum compensation for veterans harmed by this dangerous material. Contact us today and we will be more than happy to help you understand your rights as a disabled veteran.