Veterans & Asbestos
According to the United States government, military veterans comprise less than 10 percent of the country’s population. However, they make up one-third of all mesothelioma patients.
Why are veterans at such a high risk of developing mesothelioma — and asbestos-caused lung cancer? Why is asbestos exposure so common in the military? The answer is simple: For decades, asbestos was used in just about every facet of the U.S. military.
The History of Veterans Asbestos Exposure
Our country’s armed forces relied heavily on the substance for most of the 20th century. The connection between veterans and asbestos exposure was — and continues to be — a significant problem in our country.
Fortunately, veterans who developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure are eligible for compensation — through multiple avenues. Former military members can receive disability payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They can also file lawsuits against the responsible asbestos manufacturers and make asbestos trust fund claims.
Where Asbestos Was Used
There was a large amount of asbestos used in specific areas of military vessels. Places such as boiler rooms and engine rooms contained the substance due to the high risk of fire. Asbestos was also in insulating pipe cement, deck tiles and other insulation products. Each of these uses contributed to the causal link between veterans, asbestos exposure, and their higher incidence of mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Asbestos in the Navy
Of the military branches, the U.S. Navy used asbestos the most — meaning Navy veterans often experienced asbestos exposure. Battleships, submarines, aircraft carriers and other vessels utilized asbestos because of its fire-resistant properties. One of the most significant risks for ships at sea is a fire, which is why asbestos exposure occurred often in the Navy.
Therefore, any veteran who worked on or shipbuilder who built these ships likely was exposed. In fact, many old ships and military buildings still contain asbestos, putting current and future military members at a similar risk of being veterans with asbestos exposure.
Vessels that had or have asbestos include (but are not limited to):
- Amphibious ships
- Aircraft carriers
- Tenders and supply ships
- Torpedo boats
- Transport, cargo and repair ships
Asbestos in Other Military Branches
The other branches of the military also used the substance and were part of the link between veterans and asbestos exposure. Army barracks, Air Force vehicles, Marine Corps ships and vehicles, and other locations and equipment all contained asbestos.
The mineral was used in brakes, gaskets, air-cooling systems and other construction materials. These applications put military and civil engineers, electricians, and mechanics in harm’s way.
Free LEGAL HELP FOR VETERANS
Our free booklet is a valuable resource for veterans who have mesothelioma.
Our free booklet is a valuable resource for veterans who have mesothelioma. It explains:
- All of your compensation options
- How the VA claims process works
- Why to contact a VA-accredited claims agent
Compensation Options for Veterans
There are numerous pathways to help veterans who experienced asbestos exposure. The most common options are filing claims with the VA and taking legal action against the asbestos manufacturing companies.
Additionally, veterans with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure may file lawsuits and trust fund claims against the responsible company or companies. These lawsuits are not against the U.S. government, which bought asbestos-inclusive products from manufacturers.
The government did not know the full extent of asbestos’ dangers when they bought the substance, but the manufacturers and sellers knew well that the mineral was harmful. The lawsuits and trust fund claims are against the companies that produced the mineral and sold it to the military.
Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Veterans
Veterans have pride for their country and their service time. They wave their flags and speak of their military histories proudly — as they should.
Perhaps for some of these reasons, veterans fear filing a mesothelioma lawsuit because they don’t want to take action against their government, even if they were veterans with asbestos exposure. To be clear, we don’t sue the military or the government.
Asbestos Trust Funds for Veterans
Asbestos trust funds are an additional mesothelioma compensation option. If an asbestos manufacturing or processing company has gone bankrupt, they are shielded from lawsuits.
However, these companies were ordered to create asbestos trust funds. These funds ensure future mesothelioma patients can receive compensation. If you’re a veteran with mesothelioma, then you can file against any asbestos trust fund that is related to your case.
VA Mesothelioma Claims
Filing a disability claim is the most common type of compensation through the VA. In most cases, the VA rates disability claims on a sliding scale between 10 and 100 percent, in intervals of 10 percent. However, veterans with mesothelioma qualify for a 100 percent disability rating, meaning they receive the maximum compensation amount for their disease.
According to the Veterans Affairs website:
These figures were updated on the VA website in December 2019.
Can receive a minimum of $3,106.04 per month
This amount increases depending on the veteran’s number of dependents (children, spouse and parents qualify)
Can receive $3,279.22 per month
Will receive $3,684.01 per month
Other compensation options through the VA are:
Dependency and Indemnity — Veterans die each year due to this disease, and the government recognizes that surviving family members also deserve assistance. According to the VA, spouses of deceased veterans can receive at least $1,340 per month.
Pensions — Wartime veterans with limited income at the time of their mesothelioma diagnosis may be eligible for government pension.
Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits — Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits are compensation options specifically for veterans who meet specific limitations or require the assistance of another person to help with tasks of daily living.
How to File a VA Claim
The process for filing a VA claim doesn’t take long. In June 2019, the average length of time the VA took to review and rule on a compensation claim was 114 days.
However, having help is vital to quickly receiving your compensation.
Before trying to file a VA claim, consider contacting a Veterans Service Representative (VSR). These individuals are skilled at working with the VA and filing claims. Additionally, they are free of charge to help veterans with mesothelioma or asbestos-caused lung cancer. Since filing a VA claim can be a tedious process, the knowledge of a VSR is invaluable.
The lawyers at BCBH Law have a VSR on the team who has decades of experience helping the victims of veterans asbestos exposure. He is a 24-year Navy veteran and understands the prevalence of asbestos in every corner of the U.S. military. Contact our lawyers at BCBH Law to connect with the VSR.
Why to Seek Compensation as a Veteran
The at-fault companies should be held accountable for their hurtful conduct. They exploited the military — along with you and your military comrades — and are at fault.
Future generations of American veterans should not need to worry that their unselfish service to our country resulted in a life-altering disease. The connection between veterans and mesothelioma should end immediately, and you can help ensure that happens.
Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/resources_comp01.asp. Accessed: 06/27/19.
National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/vetdata/veteran_population.asp. Accessed: 06/27/19.
The VA Claims Process After You File Your Claim. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/after-you-file-claim/. Accessed: 05/22/19.