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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:

VA benefits are now available for veterans affected by asbestos exposure throughout their time of service.

The bureaucracy involved with getting your asbestos claim approved is complicated and time-consuming

Before is approved, your application for VA disability benefits will go through several steps, and each step can take weeks or longer to complete. There are many things applicants can do to expedite the processing of their claims, including to get connected with a lawyer who specializes in asbestos-related claims.

He/she will help you understand each legal step, and manage the entire process so you can focus on your treatment. Eligibility requirements for VA benefits include honorable discharge from the military, evidence of asbestos exposure during military service, and the ability to prove that your disease was a result of asbestos exposure while on duty.

Even the thought of wrestling with the VA to get benefits may seem stressful, tiring, and frustrating. You're already struggling to manage treatments and the life changes that come with your diagnosis. But the process is worth it. For example, a veteran with a spouse and child and a 100 percent disability rating can expect to receive around $3,000 a month in benefits.

9 strategies for winning your VA Disability Benefits Claim

Inhalation of asbestos dust or airborne asbestos fibers results in the development of one or more of the following recognized asbestos conditions:

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.

Tips that can help veterans avoid the delay and frustration of denial and have a better chance of obtaining VA benefits from the outset:

  • Recognize the problem when it arises. Because asbestos-related diseases characteristically develop over a long period of time, many think that incapacitating shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing are a normal part of aging. It is important to accurately diagnose an asbestos-related disease so that appropriate treatment can be offered as soon as possible. Moreover, you have a right to recover compensation for the serious health consequences of exposure to asbestos.
  • 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. If your Veteran's disability claim has been denied, file an appeal.
  • If you want to win your VA disability benefits claim, contact an attorney who specializes in asbestos-related cases. Many applicants hire a specialized in asbestos compensation claims to help them prove their case. If you're concerned about legal fees, don't worry; most law firms will simply take a small portion of the compensation you receive. It is called a "contingency fee" and protects clients from paying out of pocket.

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

If you're living with an asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible to file several different types of claims and receive compensation from various sources, including VA benefits and asbestos trust funds.

These benefits can help you and your family following a diagnosis, where you are already dealing with the physical and emotional impact of your condition.

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.