Every year, the VA pays out over $66 billion to veterans and their surviving family members in compensation for service-related disabilities
Submitting a VA compensation claim is nowhere near as complex and time-consuming as is preparing it, as well as the additional necessary documentation, a task with which a lawyer specialized in asbestos litigation can efficiently help you. After making sure you meet the eligibility requirements, the process of filing for VA compensation as a veteran injured by military asbestos exposure goes as follows:
Preparing the VA Claim for Submission
You have to fill out a series of forms the VA is going to provide you with, such as your asbestos exposure summary, and also gather enough reliable evidence to support your claim. There are two aspects to which the proof you will need to collect pertains:
- the asbestos exposure you were subjected to while serving in the military
- your current diagnosis
Carrying out the latter endeavor by yourself is most likely going to be very challenging, especially if your illness is causing you a lot of distress. For this reason, it is highly recommended to seek the assistance of a skillful attorney with relevant experience in asbestos cases. They will fulfill the preliminary step of the process in a considerably shorter time than you would be able to on your own, as their legal team will promptly put together your VA claim and the required paperwork. Furthermore, since veterans who submit their claims along with scarce or inadequate proof often have to wait over one year to receive the compensation they deserve, a lawyer will also ensure that you have sufficient appropriate evidence to accompany it from the beginning.
Military records stating what your occupation specialty was while serving and how asbestos was involved in your activity are a good example of documents you can include in your VA claim to support your exposure. A common but critical mistake among veterans who seek financial compensation is basing their VA claim on asbestos exposure instead of the resulting disease. Accordingly, if a veteran suffering from lung cancer requests compensation for asbestos exposure and not for their diagnosis, which the VA considers a service-related disability, their claim will inevitably be rejected.
When it comes to proving your disability, medical documents such as pathology reports or, if you have a type of lung disease, chest X-ray results are generally adequate evidence. However, the VA might request another medical examination at one of their hospitals to confirm your diagnosis and the correlation between your illness and asbestos exposure.
Undergoing Medical Examination at a VA Hospital
As previously mentioned, you may have to undergo a medical examination at a VA hospital upon claim submission so that a specialist can evaluate you and determine whether your illness is the result of military asbestos exposure. Regardless of the certainty of your current diagnosis, some VA centers will ask you to comply with this requirement so as to double-check your claim.
Nonetheless, another convenience of filing your VA claim with the aid of a lawyer who handles primarily asbestos exposure cases is that they can help you avoid going through this step, as long as you already have reliable evidence of your diagnosis. Their medical experts will carefully assess your documentation and if they conclude it is indeed sufficient, you will be spared additional tests.
Submitting Your VA Claim
Once your VA claim and the documents which are to accompany it are ready, you will have to submit everything to your local VA. If you work with a lawyer, they will apply for compensation on your behalf after making sure nothing of crucial importance has been overlooked. A Veterans Service Representative will subsequently review your claim, which usually takes several months.
However, if you file on your own and fail to provide enough evidence, the duration of the process can extend to over one year. This is yet another good reason to have a legal specialist with a focus on asbestos litigation assist you during the claim preparation phase. Their professional experience is bound to grant you a substantially shorter waiting time, as well as free you of the stress of gathering additional evidence should the VA request any while your claim is being processed. When the initial proof is adequate, the waiting time between claim submission and your first disability check is, on average, 4 months. Nevertheless, multiple factors may come into play and speed up or delay the process, such as:
- what type of VA claim you filed
- the complexity of your diagnosis
- the number of disabilities for which you requested compensation
- whether you submitted enough evidence along with your VA claim
Receiving Compensation from the VA
Finally, after the Veterans Service Representative reviews your claim, they will calculate the sum of money you are eligible for by taking into consideration your disability level and subsequently pay it out to you. You will receive your compensation in the form of disability checks, typically on the 1st of each month.
If you struggle with a disease as a result of military asbestos exposure, you are eligible for disability compensation from the VA. Having successfully pursued a wide range of asbestos exposure cases over the past three decades, our lawyers will provide you with permanent assistance and ensure your claim is submitted along with reliable evidence. By letting Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. prepare your VA disability compensation claim, you are bound to receive the maximum amount of compensation you qualify for in the shortest time possible. Pleas feel free to contact us at 205.328.9200 and we gladly help you.