If you were a service member at any point during your life up until the 1970s, then there’s a strong chance that you might have been exposed to asbestos fibers. This carcinogen causes the deadly cancer mesothelioma. Research shows that this naturally occurring mineral was used in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces as part of its operations for several decades. It’s even potentially still being used today in shipbuilding and in other areas.
Mesothelioma can take a long time to become symptomatic. By the time patients receive their diagnosis, doctors can do very little besides manage their symptoms. Costs associated with managing an aggressive cancer such as this can be quite high and often leave patients having to decide between receiving the care they need to most effectively cope with their condition or endure a painful death.
Fortunately, if you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits.
Who’s eligible for VA disability benefits for mesothelioma?
Veterans with some of the highest chances of asbestos exposure, including the following, may be eligible for these disability benefits:
- Shipyard workers
- Demolition crew workers
- Insulation blowers
While the use of asbestos has been outlawed in the U.S. since the 1970s, these harmful fibers are still present in some buildings and on some vehicles or boats. This harmful substance also hasn’t necessarily been outlawed worldwide, so even recent veterans might have been exposed to asbestos fibers during their recent deployments.
The VA runs facilities such as the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center to study and treat veterans and their job-related medical impairments. Not only might you qualify to take part in its studies and receive compensated medical care, but you may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits on top of this if you’ve developed mesothelioma. It can take time for you to qualify for these benefits, so you’ll want to get a hard start on applying for them now.