In the last century, thousands of the United States military veterans were exposed unknowingly to asbestos during their service, particularly those who served in the U.S. Navy. Through the years of serving, they may have come in contact with asbestos while performing tasks in specific environments on the ships or in the vehicle repair facilities.
Every military division came in contact with asbestos, given the frequently used asbestos products during the 20th century; asbestos was present on the Navy ships built before 1980. Serving on these ships led to inevitable asbestos exposure of the entire crew.
Exposure to asbestos can result in asbestosis, a type of disease that develops when asbestos fibers are captured in the lining of the lungs or the stomach and sometimes even the heart, causing scarring. Symptoms of asbestosis don't show until years after the initial exposure.
Asbestos exposure is also linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, which may manifest years after the initial exposure. These illnesses have a long latency period of 20 to 50 years, so they often go undetected until they've reached advanced stages. This is why the keys to survival are early detection and intervention.
Types of Available Compensations
The veterans exposed to asbestos during military service who develop asbestos-related conditions are eligible for compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases may qualify to receive the following assistance from the VA:
- Asbestos Trust Funds - these are large amounts of money set aside by asbestos companies to handle asbestos claims. Eligible patients and loved ones can file a claim against the trust to receive compensation. To prove eligibility and qualify for payments, patients or their family members must fulfill the criteria of having a diagnosis with an asbestos-related illness and proof of exposure. There is a time limit to file an asbestos claim from one to three years from the initial diagnosis and it's possible to file a claim with multiple asbestos trust funds to maximalize the compensation for the diagnosed asbestos-related illness.
- VA Health Care - the assistance can be based on the confirmation of a service-connected illness or the veteran's income level. If the asbestos exposure that led to an asbestos-related disease happened during active duty, the VA considers it service-connected.
- Disability Compensation - a monthly benefit based on a veteran's level of disability. Asbestos-related cancers, such as mesothelioma, are considered 100% disabling.
- Special Monthly Compensation - assistance available to veterans with a disability grade that requires the help and presence of another person. The compensation is also available to spouses and parents of veterans.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation - a monthly aid paid to the surviving spouse of a veteran who died from a service-related disability.
- VA Burial Benefits - are based on proof that the person seeking this benefit has paid for a veteran's burial or funeral. They also must show the veteran died of a service-connected disability such as mesothelioma linked to military asbestos exposure.
If you were exposed to asbestos during your service in the military, you can seek disability compensation by taking notice of the following asbestos diseases that make you eligible for VA disability benefits:
- interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
- pleural effusion
- pleural plaques
- lung cancer
- bronchus cancer
- gastrointestinal cancer
- larynx cancer
- pharynx cancer
- urogenital cancers
We Can Help if You Are a Veteran Suffering From an Asbestos-Related Disease
Service in the U.S. Navy from the 1930s to the early 1980s most likely exposed you to asbestos. You should tell your doctor about your employment history if you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, or unintentional weight loss. Navy, Coast Guard, U.S. Army Transport Service, and Merchant Marine veterans diagnosed with asbestos-related illness may be entitled to compensation to pay their medical bills, lost income, and other expenditures. It's essential to be correctly advised of your rights and options according to your specific circumstances. We can assist you in connecting you with experienced attorneys who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your trouble and suffering. Please get in touch with us now for more information.