In the 1980s, the US military invested heavily in creating asbestos-rich military products. From navy ships to army vehicles, every pivotal piece of equipment used by the armed forces had these microscopic fibers. The effects of asbestos take years to build up. Therefore, most veterans start showing signs and symptoms of mesothelioma well into their seventies.
Unfortunately, veterans make up 30% of all mesothelioma patients in the US because of the widespread usage of asbestos in their workspaces. This is why the government decided to intervene. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a list of veteran benefits for you to choose from.
Mesothelioma is complex cancer to treat in more than one way. It is expensive, spreads fast, and requires multiple rounds of cancer medication before the tumor shrinks. As a veteran, you may not be in a position to fund your treatment without putting your family’s livelihood at stake. No matter what rank you serve, you can easily access any of these benefits. Here are some veteran benefits you should look into to facilitate your treatment:
File Against Asbestos Companies
As a veteran, you’re well within your legal rights to hold asbestos-containing companies responsible for manufacturing armed goods. After all, you should have been enjoying a comfortable retirement instead of dealing with painful cancer. Many law firms agree with your stance and will represent you.
Depending on what armed forces sector you served, you will get compensated. For instance, as a veteran of the US navy, locate a reputable legal institute and look into the guidelines of a navy asbestos settlement and file accordingly. Your lawsuit will help you hold the asbestos companies responsible for your condition.
With the help of a reputable lawyer, you will get to negotiate a settlement amount from these guilty companies, which you may use for your treatment. A successful settlement can also win you over a million dollars worth of benefits. Go for a settlement to get justice for your pain and suffering.
Utilize The Disability Compensation
The US Department of Veteran Affairs understands that living with a disability is challenging. Therefore, you will get compensated according to the disability you sustained while serving in the armed forces. These don’t have to be severe and can be minor disabilities such as hearing or vision impairment. Mesothelioma, along with many other serious ailments, also comes under this banner.
Even if you have mesothelioma alone and no other physical disability, you will qualify for disability compensation. As a benefit, you will receive approximately $3,000 every month for your expenses and treatments. If you have a partner, you may receive up to $3,200. But, if you have more dependents on you, such as your children and grandchildren, you may get even higher compensation.
The government will also provide extra money if your condition requires a full-time caretaker to look after you. Disability compensation is tax-free, so you don’t have to worry about any additional financial strain and recuperate in peace. Unfortunately, this option is not available for veterans who got discharged dishonorably.
Visit Veterans Health Care Units
You can use the veteran’s health care to get treatment from mesothelioma specialists working at Veteran Affairs Hospitals. Approximately 1,300 VA hospitals are operating in the US. By accessing any of these facilities, you will be able to get treatment at low costs, often with a minimal copay. However, there are certain limitations that you will need to clear before you can access veteran healthcare.
You will need to enroll yourself into the veteran healthcare system. This you can do online or by submitting a form through the mail. You must have a service-related injury, which includes mesothelioma. Your income bracket should also match the VA healthcare’s minimal amount. For example, you will need an annual income of less than $30,000 to access this healthcare facility. In addition to these factors, you should be a recipient of a Purple Heart, prisoner of war, or exposed to a chemical that caused your skin to scar.
Apply For A Veteran Pension
You may be eligible for a veteran pension if you came from a low-income socio-economic background and sustained an injury at war. The injury must result in a disability for your pension to go through. Like other benefits, there are also specific prerequisites you will need to fulfill before you get approved. Your military record should reflect that you served in the army for ninety days or more and served in the war.
You will also need to be older than sixty-five and have a permanent disability like an amputated limb, chronic pain, or cancers like mesothelioma. While these may sound like way too many loopholes to jump through, they protect the armed forces from being overburdened. These policies ensure that the veteran benefit reaches all those who need it the most. You should also receive social security disability insurance and a supplemental security income to be eligible for receiving a veteran’s pension.
Opt For A Special Monthly Compensation
Even if you are already receiving disability compensation, you will still be eligible for special monthly payments. These payments are for severe disabilities that require round-the-clock care and fluctuating health that needs careful monitoring.
Your spouse and parents can also access a special monthly compensation if they care for you. For example, while getting treated for mesothelioma, there is a chance that you will lose an organ or part of an organ such as a lung which can severely debilitate your daily life. You may need to get an additional $6,000, which will be enough to pay for your treatments.
Access Housebound Benefits
As a mesothelioma patient, if your condition is far too severe and prevents you from walking out of your house, you will get a housebound benefit. Whether you are coping with a mesothelioma diagnosis or recovering from surgery, there is a chance your health may be in shambles.
You may be facing weakness, low energy, start trembling due to exhaustion or overexertion, and may need to recuperate completely. So while you are on total bed rest, this benefit will provide you with an adequate amount of monthly allowance so that you don’t have to worry about your expenses.
As a veteran, your services to your country are undeniable. However, while at war, you may have faced more than one enemy. Armed forces heavily used asbestos products in war. Consequently, you may have been exposed, which may have caused mesothelioma.
While getting treated for this cancer, you can access various perks to help make payments. You will also get the option to file for a lawsuit following a mesothelioma diagnosis. Some benefits you should look into include disability compensation, veteran healthcare, pension, special compensation. Depending on the gravity of your situation, pick the most convenient benefit and apply right away.