Mesothelioma and Veterans
Today, veterans with mesothelioma and lung cancer can file for VA benefits and legal compensation. Every branch of the Armed Forces relied on asbestos for decades, not knowing it could be deadly.
Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
U.S. veterans are at an especially high risk of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Every branch of the military relied on asbestos from the 1930s to the early 1980s because the mineral was cheap and resistant to fire and heat.Asbestos-containing products could be found in military:
Mesothelioma Veterans Benefits
With benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you may be able to receive low-cost mesothelioma treatments and monthly financial payments.
Below, get information on top VA benefits.
VA Disability Compensation
Disability compensation provides former service members with money each month to cover basic living expenses and medical care costs. You don’t have to pay taxes on disability compensation, and it is not affected by your income level or employment history.
Because mesothelioma has a 100% disability rating from the VA, you may qualify for the maximum amount of compensation from a disability claim if you were diagnosed with this cancer due to service-related asbestos exposure. In 2023, a veteran with no dependants may be eligible to receive $3621.95
A VA pension is a monthly payment available if you served during wartime and your income falls under a set limit. VA pension pays the difference between your current income and the maximum pension rate set by Congress.
As of December 1, 2022, your net worth must be under $150,538 to receive a pension. If you are married, your spouse’s income also counts towards this net amount.
Our team of Patient Advocates and VA-accredited attorneys can help determine if you may qualify for VA pension. Contact us today.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
Paid in addition to regular disability benefits, SMC may be available if you have a disability that requires medical care from someone else. The VA considers mesothelioma to be a total disability, meaning you may qualify for SMC.
Most lawyers will try to settle a lawsuit before it goes to court. On average, an out-of-court mesothelioma settlement is valued at around $1 Million.
This number represents the combined total from all the settlements with the manufacturers named in the lawsuit.
Depending on your case, dozens of manufacturers could be sued, and each will reach a settlement agreement unless they are either found not to be responsible for your illness or want to take the case to trial.
$8.26 Million Verdict
On June 30, 2021, this verdict was awarded to a 66-year-old Louisiana man who was exposed to asbestos-containing brakes and clutches while working as a gas station and school bus mechanic in the 1960s and 70s.
$6.5 Million Settlement
This settlement was awarded to a 57-year-old man who made repairs while working in oil fields during the late 1970s. His father also served in the U.S. Army and worked on gas pipes in multiple states starting in 1975.
$10.2 Million Settlement
This settlement was secured for an 82-year-old man from Washington. He served in the U.S. Navy for nearly two decades as a boiler tender and chief petty officer in addition to being a member of the Freemasons.
How to File a Mesothelioma VA Benefits Claim
To file a VA claim, you must fill out documents that show how your mesothelioma stems from military service and why you need specific benefits.
You may need the following to file a VA benefits claim:
- Proof of honorable discharge
- Medical records that confirm you have mesothelioma
- Evidence linking military service to asbestos exposure (like military job history)
- A doctor’s statement that notes asbestos caused you to develop your cancer
Meet Walter, a Mesothelioma Warrior
Walter, a Sokolove Law client and U.S. Navy veteran, talks about why he filed a mesothelioma lawsuit.
He said, “You have all your paperwork in order?” I said, “Yes I do.” He said, “Well, keep it there” Nobody ever said anything, about it being dangerous. The powers at be knew. I said, “Well, heck with this noise. They’re gonna hear from me.” I wasn’t suing the government, I wasn’t suing the U.S. Navy, I was suing the manufacturer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation.
“I’m blown away by their quick response times and amazing customer service. Teresa went above and beyond and I could not appreciate that more. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“All of the personnel I’ve spoken with have been courteous and helpful. Thank you for making this experience as stress-free as possible.”
Recognition & Affiliation
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
A person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma – as well as their spouse, child, or family member – may be able to file a claim to recover compensation from manufacturers of asbestos products. If the mesothelioma patient passes away, a family member or estate representative may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How much money is in the asbestos trust fund?
An estimated $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to compensate mesothelioma patients. Many companies that made asbestos products later filed for bankruptcy, so they created these trust funds to pay out future mesothelioma claims. If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure no longer exists, you may be entitled to money from their trust fund.
How do I file a mesothelioma claim?
To file a mesothelioma claim, contact an attorney who is experienced with these types of lawsuits. They will know where and when to file your claim, how to build the strongest case possible, and the best way to maximize compensation on your behalf.
What is the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims?
The statute of limitations (deadline to file) for mesothelioma claims will vary depending on the state in which you file. In many states, it’s 2-3 years from the date of the mesothelioma diagnosis – though it may be longer if the mesothelioma patient has passed away. A mesothelioma lawyer can make sure your claim is filed within the required time frame.
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
Every mesothelioma claim is different, with circumstances and factors that are unique to that mesothelioma patient’s story. Though there’s no way to predict exactly how long a claim will take, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will ensure the process is handled as efficiently as possible.
Many claimants start to receive compensation in as few as 90 days after settling their mesothelioma claims.
What is the average payout for mesothelioma?
There is no guarantee of compensation when you file a mesothelioma claim, and countless factors affect how much money you might be able to recover (assuming your case settles). That said, 95% of these lawsuits are settled out of court, and the average settlement amount is $1-1.4 million.
How much is my mesothelioma claim worth?
Your mesothelioma case value depends on the specifics of your situation, such as the duration of your asbestos exposure, and the total cost of your mesothelioma treatment (as well as travel expenses and other related losses). The best way to figure out how much your claim is worth is to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer.
What type of mesothelioma claim do I have?
Most mesothelioma claims fall under one of four categories:
- Personal injury: You were exposed to asbestos (often through your job, or your loved one’s), so you file a lawsuit against the company that made the asbestos products.
- Asbestos trust fund: Similar to a personal injury claim, only the company in question went bankrupt, so you can’t sue them – but you may be able to access a trust fund they set aside for mesothelioma victims.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits: U.S. military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service may qualify for related health care benefits through the VA.
- Wrongful death: When a mesothelioma patient passes away, their family member or estate representative may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf, seeking money to pay for past medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc.
A mesothelioma attorney can determine which type of claim makes the most sense for you and your family. (Some clients qualify for more than one.)