Home   >   Questions & Answers  >  I Am a Veteran Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in the Military, but I Have No Symptoms. Can I Still File a VA Claim?

I Am a Veteran Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in the Military, but I Have No Symptoms. Can I Still File a VA Claim?

Disability compensation is a financial benefit the VA pays out only to veterans with diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, or asbestosis. Therefore, a veteran is not eligible for it in the absence of a proper asbestos-related diagnosis.

answered by Channika DeSilva Gonzalez

Veterans with a history of military asbestos exposure should permanently monitor their health, as the risk of developing a serious disease remains high throughout their entire life

As the VA deems only diseases which occur as a consequence of military asbestos exposure disabilities, veterans without a proper diagnosis are not eligible for financial compensation and thereby cannot file a claim in this regard. Nevertheless, if you know for a fact that you were subjected to asbestos exposure while serving, you should closely monitor your health, as you are at high risk of developing a related illness anytime in the future. After inhalation or ingestion, asbestos fibers cause inflammation and tissue scarring gradually, hence the long latency period diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer have. It usually takes between 10 and 50 years for the damage asbestos produces to internal organs to turn into a disease per se. Therefore, if you have a history of asbestos exposure, you are unfortunately susceptible to becoming ill for the rest of your life.

It is also important to know that symptoms rarely show up in the early phase. When veterans begin experiencing physical distress, it typically means that their disease has become quite severe. For this reason, timely detection is crucial. Veterans who know they were exposed to asbestos in the military are strongly advised to undergo a thorough medical examination every year, regardless of whether they currently have symptoms. Keeping a close eye on your health will help you avoid being diagnosed with a serious disease when it is too advanced to respond to treatment.

Finally, since the rate of misdiagnosis is alarmingly high among victims of asbestos exposure, we wholeheartedly encourage you to seek a second opinion from a specialist if you already have a diagnosis. Because the symptoms of lung disease caused by asbestos exposure often overlap those of more common respiratory conditions such as asthma or pneumonia, even medical experts are prone to assigning the wrong diagnosis. Thus, being evaluated by multiple specialists is necessary when asbestos is responsible for your illness. A false diagnosis can affect your prognosis dramatically, as you will not benefit from effective treatment, which will inevitably lead to the aggravation of your condition.

What documents must accompany my VA Disability Compensation Claim if I was injured by military asbestos exposure?

In addition to military records proving your asbestos exposure and medical evidence stating your current diagnosis, which a lawyer specialized in asbestos litigation can help you gather more efficiently, you will have to submit the following documents when requesting VA disability compensation:

  • a filled out VA Form 21-526, which must be accompanied by a summary of your asbestos exposure
  • a copy of your DD 214 (discharge paperwork), which you can recover from the National Personnel Records Center if you no longer have the original
  • if you have a spouse, a copy of your marriage certificate, as having a dependent will increase the amount of compensation you are eligible for

Filing a VA disability compensation claim can be a very nerve-racking endeavor, especially when you have a disease such as lung cancer or asbestosis, which are known for causing a lot of physical and emotional distress. Our attorneys, who have been relentlessly helping victims of asbestos exposure since 1990, are here to provide veterans with permanent assistance in the process of applying for VA disability compensation. With the aid of a highly experienced legal team, they will thoroughly prepare your claim for submission so that you can continue to prioritize your health and treatment. Please feel free to contact us at 205.328.9200 and we will promptly answer any additional questions you may have.

*The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Other Related Questions

Secondary exposure occurs when a person is not in direct contact with a source of asbestos. It is equally dangerous as occupational asbestos exposure and can be either domestic or environmental.

Read more

The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file an asbestos claim after diagnosis. It varies between one and six years, depending on the state you live in.

Read more

Both smoking and asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, the combination of these two risk factors further multiplying the danger and thereby creating a greater health risk.

Read more

Trust transparency laws have been enforced by some U.S. states to protect the legal system from fraud and abuse. Some argue that these laws make the process of recovering compensation more difficult for asbestos victims.

Read more

Yes, a smoker can successfully file a claim if the asbestos-related disease develops as a result of the past history of asbestos exposure.

Read more

It is possible to claim compensation for all asbestos-related conditions, whether a patient is suffering from aggressive cancers or other long-term debilitating illnesses such as diffuse pleural thickening.

Read more

If multiple companies are at fault for your injury, you can file a claim with the asbestos trust funds of those which are under bankruptcy protection, as well as a lawsuit against those which are not.

Read more

As much as 5,000 consumer products including small appliances and building materials contained asbestos as per the National Cancer Institute.

Read more

Mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis are quite rare even among people with a history of asbestos exposure. However, these diseases claim the lives of over 12,000 people in the U.S. annually.

Read more

The Navy veterans were at the highest risk of being exposed to asbestos as most asbestos-containing products were used by the Navy when compared to other military branches in the United States.

Read more

See more questions