VA Pension for Mesothelioma Victims
Veterans with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure, may qualify for a pension from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA pensions award monthly payments to veterans who may be experiencing financial hardship. These pensions are available to both veterans and their loved ones, provided that specific requirements are met.
What Are VA Pensions?
VA pensions are supplemental payments for veterans. VA pensions are paid each month.
Veterans can receive VA pensions if they meet one of the following requirements:
- Older than 65
- Permanently disabled
- Receiving nursing home care
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
Veterans must also fall under the countable family income limits set by Congress to receive these benefits.
In other words, if a veteran makes less than this limit ($150,538 as of December 2022), then they may be able to receive a VA pension. In some cases, family members can also receive pensions, such as if a veteran dies.
Veterans Affairs pensions are entirely different from regular service pensions. They can apply to veterans who left their military branch early and fell short of qualifying for standard retirement pensions.
Veterans with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease should see if they qualify for a VA pension. Veterans are often at a higher risk of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma since the U.S. military heavily relied on the deadly substance for decades.
Benefits of a Mesothelioma Pension
Pensions have the ability to aid veterans that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in multiple ways.
Some of these ways include a compensation and income supplement, which help veterans to cover living expenses, medical costs, and other types of expenses that can occur from being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Another benefit involves a veteran’s degree of certainty that their surviving loved ones will be able to receive financial support if they qualify.
Knowing their loved ones are being taken care of through VA pension financial assistance can help to put a veteran’s mind at ease when considering their loved ones’ futures.
There are several resources that exist to help veterans and their loved ones understand how to seek compensation. Download our Free Mesothelioma Justice Guide to better understand your options.
How Much Money Will I Receive from a VA Pension?
This depends on how much money you make each year and your overall net worth.
Congress sets the amount of funding that veterans may be able to receive from the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs. Congress also strikes a balance between countable income and net worth to ensure veterans who legitimately need the program are able to access it.
Countable income includes Social Security benefits, dependents’ income, and income from investments and retirement plans. Countable income may be reduced by medical expenses not covered by insurance.
The Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) is the maximum amount of pension payable.
It is based on a few factors, including:
- Number of dependents
- Marriage to another veteran who qualifies for a pension
- Eligibility for Aid & Attendance or housebound benefits
These aspects are taken into consideration when your VA pension payments are calculated. From there, you will know exactly how much money you are eligible to receive from the VA pension.
Eligibility for Mesothelioma VA Pension Benefits
VA pensions are considered supplemental income. They are tax-free financial benefits that disabled vets may be eligible for above other regular income sources. But, there are restrictions on qualifying for mesothelioma VA pension benefits.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Countable Income: This refers to a veteran’s current financial situation. Applicants must disclose all income sources such as other pension monies, earnings from employment, and any interest or dividends from savings or investments. How much money a veteran makes affects their pension rate (how much money the pension will pay). Low-income veterans receive more pension.
- Net Worth: Disability pension applicants also have to disclose their entire net worth including stocks, bonds, and mutual fund annuities. Real estate holdings are also assessed, however, personal residences are excluded from a net worth calculation.
- Honorably Discharged: Military veterans must be honorably discharged from their military branch to qualify for pension benefits. The length of service is not the main factor. It’s the performance level that matters. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged are not eligible to apply for any VA compensation or healthcare benefits under any circumstances. That includes disability pensions.
- Service Documents: Veterans must have documented support that they were employed by a military department. This can be discharged papers, service certificates, or government-issued identification. It’s helpful to have records showing service occupations and posting locations that coincide with how the disability developed.
- Medical Proof: Applicants for supplementary pension benefits must prove they have a medically-diagnosed disability. Normally, this support comes from a primary physician providing VA with a report outlining their patient’s medical history and diagnostic assessment. It should include a summary of how the disability developed, how it currently affects the claimant, and what the long-term prognosis is.
- Age Requirement: Veterans who apply for the VA pension benefit program must be 65 or older. There are exceptional cases for younger veterans who are totally and permanently disabled, are in nursing care homes, blind, or already receive insufficient Social Security or Supplementary income.
- Wartime Service: This is a fine-print condition in the Veterans Affairs eligibility guidelines. This clause is complex and states that veterans applying for certain disability pension benefits must have served at least 90 days of active duty with a minimum of one inclusive day being during a designated wartime period. This regulation also makes a date reference to before and after September 7, 1980. Non-wartime veterans who are considering applying for disability pension benefits should get independent advice about how this wartime service clause can impact their pension plans.
- Disability Degree: VA administration considers a veteran applicant’s degree of disability in assessing pension benefit eligibility. This includes a veteran’s mobility restrictions such as being housebound or bedridden. Vets who require personal home care may be eligible for Aid & Attendance compensation on top of supplementary pension payments.
- Length of Service: Monthly pensions are paid to honorably discharged military service members who completed a minimum specified service length. These veterans earn monthly compensation amounts based on how long they spent in the service and what their annual income amounted to.
Veterans should speak to a VA-accredited claims agent to learn more about these requirements and how they impact VA pensions.
VA Survivors Pension & Mesothelioma
If a veteran with mesothelioma passes away, their dependents may be entitled to receive what is called the VA survivors pension.
The veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged for their dependents to receive this payment.
The dependents must also meet certain criteria based on their:
- Marital status
- Income/net worth
This monthly payment is calculated based on the difference between the dependents’ income, their overall net worth, and the MAPR.
The most important qualifying factor for receiving the VA survivors pension dictates that spouses and children must not be remarried or married after the veteran has passed.
Dependent children must also be under the age of 18 unless attending school — in this case, they may be eligible to continue to receive benefits until the age of 23.
If the spouse of a deceased veteran has no children dependents, they are eligible to receive an MAPR of $9,344. If the spouse has one dependent child the MAPR changes to $12,229.
Other benefit entitlements may also affect pension rates.
Applying for VA Pension
Veterans and their families have a few different options when it comes to applying for a VA pension.
You can apply for VA pension:
- By mail
- In-Person at the regional VA office nearest you.
- Online through the VA’s website
Regardless of how you apply, your application should always be done with the help of a lawyer and a VA-accredited Claims Agent.
Mesothelioma lawyers can help veterans identify where and when they may have come into contact with asbestos-containing products while serving.
A Claims Agent can take this information and use it to file a strong VA claim that will hopefully award the veteran with a pension.
Learn More About Mesothelioma Pensions
VA pensions can provide immense aid at a time when you need it most. It can also give you comfort knowing that assistance is available for your loved onesl.
Both veterans with mesothelioma and their surviving spouses and dependents may be eligible to receive VA pensions, survivor pensions, and other benefits.
Veterans are encouraged to work with a skilled mesothelioma attorney who can help them build a strong claim and get the compensation they deserve.
Get a free case review to learn more about receiving a VA pension and other benefits.
Easier Than It May Seem
Your individual situation may merit an actual lawsuit. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Trusts have been set up to benefit victims of mesothelioma in such a way that lawsuits and court appearances aren’t needed. Contact us today and you’ll see how easy it can be to get the compensation you deserve.
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.)