Mesothelioma VA Benefits
The US Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA, provides a wide range of benefits for veterans and their dependents in order to meet a wide variety of needs. Much like any private healthcare system, however, obtaining VA benefits can be difficult for those seeking them out for the first time, and help with VA benefits is something any veteran can benefit from. The VA requires a great deal of information from a potential patient before they will allow them access to the 1,400 treatment centers and thousands of doctors and specialists that the program has across the country, and it can often be confusing for veterans who may not have the specific paperwork the VA is asking for or know how to properly answer questions on VA forms and paperwork.
Veterans Affairs Online Application
The VA is taking several steps to help lower the amount of effort it takes for legitimate veterans with illnesses and ailments to obtain VA benefits, starting with the creation of the VONAPP, or Veterans Affairs Online Application, which helps veterans to begin the process of VA benefit approval. It can be worth a trip to a local VA office in order to inquire about the requirements for benefits and how long the process will take. The US VA benefits system is recognized as one of the most robust and effective in the world, and veterans can expect a high standard of care once they are admitted to the program.
One issue that VA benefits are now providing coverage for is the development of a specific type of cancer known as mesothelioma. This cancer has a far higher rate of incidence in veterans than in the general population, and of the 3,000 new cases that are reported each year, almost 30 percent are veterans. In large part, this is because of the repeated and long-term exposure that many veterans had to the causal factor of mesothelioma - asbestos fibers. These thin, airborne fibers were found anywhere asbestos was used in the US prior to the 1960s and 1970s, and one of the largest consumers of asbestos and asbestos products was the US military, especially the Navy.
Asbestos Exposure in the Military
Barracks were built with asbestos insulation and roofing, ships were stuffed full of asbestos, and military personnel of every rank were almost constantly exposed to asbestos as they went about their duties. Over time, the inhalation of asbestos fibers allows some of them to become stuck in the mesothelium lining of organs in the chest cavity, and when one of these fibers prompts an immune response, possible abnormal cellular division is the result, leading to the formation of a tumor. The VA does not recognize mesothelioma as a service-connected illness, which means that they do not take special responsibility for it. A veteran that applies for benefits for their mesothelioma and shows that they likely inhaled asbestos fibers during their term of service will be approved for standard benefits - ranging from $200 to $2,500 per month, depending on the severity of the disease - but will not be entitled to any special compensation such as that offered to those who have been exposed to Agent Orange. The VA often recommends that veterans file a lawsuit against the company who manufactured the asbestos used on their ship or in their barracks in order to recover a larger portion of their treatment costs.
VA benefits are tax free, and are not subject to either federal or state tax at any time. A veteran who suffers from mesothelioma, in addition to other conditions of the mind or body, may be entitled to receive further money from the VA each month, but all decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Once approved, a veteran can choose whatever facility they would like to begin their mesothelioma treatments, and most VA facilities are able to offer a number of palliative treatments to minimize symptoms, ease pain, and increase lifespan. No cure exists for mesothelioma, but the VA, along with several international organizations, are working hard to find more effective treatment solutions.