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Which asbestos-related diseases make veterans eligible for VA compensation?

Veterans diagnosed with nearly any disease which occurred as a result of military asbestos exposure are considered as having a certain level of disability by the VA and thereby qualify for financial benefits.

answered by Channika DeSilva Gonzalez

Upon filing a VA disability compensation claim, veterans will have to prove the correlation between their disability and asbestos exposure

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes most diseases resulting from military asbestos exposure as a form of disability which may affect veterans who served during the last century. Accordingly, veterans can file a VA disability compensation claim for both malignant and non-malignant diseases. Furthermore, if a veteran suffers from multiple illnesses as a consequence of asbestos exposure, they can request financial compensation for each. For instance, the co-occurrence of asbestosis with colorectal cancer, which is not uncommon among victims of asbestos exposure, grants veterans the right to apply twice for VA disability compensation.

Veterans can also file for asbestos trust funds compensation in addition to their VA claims. Prolonged exposure to asbestos products can lead to various illnesses and in order to file a claim, you must be suffering from a 'diagnosed condition'. VA claims often get denied because of insufficient proof of a correlation between your condition and exposure to toxic asbestos fibers during service. Our team consists of medical experts and toxicologists who offer free asbestos screenings to veterans and their families. We help veterans with their asbestos trust fund claims and our findings may play a role in the VA disability claim that veterans may also get. Our evaluations will speed up the process with VA claims as well. We will carefully examine X-rays to check for the presence of asbestos fibers in the exposed person’s lungs. We will also consider their overall medical as well as work history to determine asbestos trust funds compensation eligibility.

One of the following asbestos-related diseases makes a veteran eligible for filing a VA disability compensation claim:

Misdiagnosis is quite common among asbestos-exposed individuals as the symptoms of asbestos-related lung diseases are almost similar to other lung disorders. Tuberculosis is one such respiratory disease that mimics the clinical as well as radiographic features of most asbestos-related lung diseases. Therefore, differentiating between tuberculosis and asbestos-related lung diseases is challenging, even for the experts.

Other conditions that mimic asbestos-related lung cancer include:

Due to the similarity of signs and symptoms, serious illnesses such as pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer in the initial stages is likely to be misdiagnosed as pneumonia or asthma. This is an unfavorable situation and veterans will not be able to qualify for a claim with these diagnoses. For this reason, we encourage seeking a second opinion from a specialist in asbestos-related diseases after a diagnosis is made by the primary care physician.

Asbestos-Related DiseasesVA Compensation
Asbestosis $2k/month VA + $25k ATF
Pleural plaques $2k/month VA + $55k ATF
Lung cancer $4k/month VA + $100k ATF
Mesothelioma $5k/month VA + $300k ATF
Kidney cancer + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $60k ATF
Esophageal/throat cancer + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $50k ATF
Colorectal cancer + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $80k ATF
Bladder cancer + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $60k ATF
Gastrointestinal cancer + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $70k ATF
Other cancers + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $50k ATF
Other lung diseases + asbestosis $2k/month VA + $30k ATF

Disclaimer: The amount of compensation depends on many factors, these are estimates we gathered from our own database.

In order to claim VA disability benefits, veterans should provide solid evidence regarding the actual exposure to asbestos that occurred while in service. For instance, there should be proof of direct contact with asbestos products such as being a plumber and not just being on the ship. It is worthy of note that veterans who suffer from mesothelioma and asbestosis are not required to provide additional evidence to support the connection between their illness and exposure since the only cause of these diseases is asbestos. As for the other diseases, veterans will have to submit written evidence from a medical specialist when applying for VA compensation.

Can a veteran work if they receive VA disability benefits?

In general, veterans with a disability rating can still work, but – as is always the case – there are certain exceptions. While veterans who have a low to mild disability rating may continue working, those with a higher disability rating cannot, since they are seen as unemployable. Therefore, if you are a veteran whose disability has been estimated to be 100% under the Individual Unemployability rating, you are not legally allowed to have "substantially gainful employment", according to the Code of Federal Regulations.

If, however, you received a 100% scheduler rating, either as a combined percentage or as the result of a single diagnosis, your eligibility for employment will not be affected at all. Consequently, you can choose to work as much or as little as you wish, as this rating does not measure your ability to hold down a job.

Can I still serve in the U.S. military while receiving VA disability benefits?

As long as you can obtain medical clearance, you may continue your military service despite having a disability. The only factors on which your serving in the military depends are how severe your diagnosis is and the extent to which your illness prevents you from performing your job. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that you cannot receive military pay and disability benefits simultaneously.

Were you subjected to asbestos exposure while serving in the military? Considering how prevalent asbestos was between 1935 and 1975, veterans who were on active duty have inevitably been in contact with it on at least one occasion. While not everyone who was exposed to asbestos will develop a related disease, the risk is very high for U.S. veterans, particularly for those in the Navy, since they would spend a lot of time surrounded by asbestos dust. Unfortunately, toxic fibers remain in the lungs forever after inhalation, posing a constant threat to your health. Environmental Litigation Group P.C. provides asbestos screenings to veterans free of charge. After sending in your chest X-ray results, our medical experts will let you how severe your asbestos exposure was, as well as how likely it is to cause health issues in the future.

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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.

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Because gathering strong evidence of military asbestos exposure can be very challenging to do on their own, veterans need the legal assistance of a specialized attorney to file a claim with the VA.

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A veteran who is receiving monthly benefits from the VA can ask for a reevaluation of their disability rating at any point. Although it is supposed to be simple to request a change, it can often be a lengthy, complex and confusing process, especially for a veteran unable to deal with the VA bureaucracy or unfamiliar with the VA system.

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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.

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Veterans are eligible for financial compensation from both asbestos trust funds and the VA. Therefore, filing a claim with one or multiple asbestos trust funds will not affect your right to VA disability compensation.

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