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Mesothelioma & Veterans: What you Need to Know

Veterans make up a third of patients with mesothelioma in the United States. This percentage is considered to be the largest of any particular group of people suffering from this rare type of cancer. In fact, experts believe that mesothelioma and veterans are somehow connected.

In simple terms, there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between developing the disease and military service.

According to mesothelioma attorneys, any veteran with this rare condition should know their rights when seeking compensation and financial reassurance after their diagnosis. Such veterans are entitled to a certain number of rights. Some can file for compensation ranging from asbestos trust fund claims to disability payments.

After all, veterans risked their lives in the line of duty to protect the US and its citizens in general. They simply put their fellow Americans and country first before their own well-being. Sadly, quite a number ended up being diagnosed with mesothelioma that was directly linked to their service. Read on to learn more about mesothelioma, compensation options, and medical options, among other rights.

Mesothelioma Explained

As stated above, mesothelioma condition is a type of cancer. It is associated with damaged mesothelial cells, hence the name. This condition forms in three areas: the peritoneum, pleura, or pericardium.

The peritoneum is a type of thin membrane that covers your abdominal cavity. The pleura, on the other hand, is a thin membrane that encompasses your lung cavities. This sheet-like membrane is found inside your chest wall. The pericardium is the name of the protective lining around your heart.

These three parts of your body are made up of mesothelial cells. Typically, mesothelial cells emanate a type of protein known as mesothelin. So, when your cells become cancerous, they start to produce mesothelin protein at alarming levels. Eventually, the affected cells mutate rapidly to form tumors. These tumors duplicate before spreading throughout your body, causing mesothelioma.

Possible Causes of Mesothelioma

Asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Normally, this condition occurs when asbestos fibers get into your body. Once inside your body system, asbestos fibers interact with your mesothelial cells in the peritoneum, pericardium, or pleura.

How does asbestos affect veterans?

Bear in mind that asbestos is a type of mineral that has been in use in many applications during the 20th century. In particular, this mineral was used in insulation equipment and construction projects.

Thanks to its fire-resistant capability, availability, and affordability when it comes to manufacturing and commercial use, asbestos became popular in most military installations. The US military relied heavily on this material for fire protection and insulation throughout their military equipment.

In most cases, asbestos fibers remain safe if left undisturbed. However, they can easily loosen and get into the air. Those who come into contact with loose asbestos inhale the carcinogen, making them vulnerable to mesothelioma.

Once you inhale the carcinogen, it travels through your body into places where mesothelioma forms. The asbestos fiber is also likely to stick to foodstuff, clothes, and other objects, making those nearby be at risk of ingesting this material through their mouths. Prolonged exposure to this carcinogenic material can potentially cause mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Prevalence in Veterans

Mesothelioma is more common in veterans than in other patients. As a matter of fact, veterans comprise a third of those suffering from mesothelioma. This figure is relatively high, especially among the heroes who gave up everything to serve the country.

Those working in companies that used asbestos to make certain products were also affected. This is the same case with those in the military. The retired military members were always exposed to asbestos that was used in the construction of airplanes, ships, barracks, and many other installations for military purposes.

Older ships and marine vessels are still having asbestos as part of their construction materials. This means that more and more current and future military members are at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims for Mesothelioma

Veterans suffering from mesothelioma can benefit more when they follow the right channels. If you are one of them, rest assured that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will help you get your compensation.

Numerous financial assistance options are available for veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma. The US Department of Veterans Affairs is in charge of all these resources. This department is obligated to provide Disability Compensation for all service-related health conditions that include mesothelioma.

Also, there are pension benefits set aside for non-service-related disabilities. Most of these benefits are provided to help offset the treatment costs for veterans as well as to help this ex-service personnel regain their financial stability throughout their lives.

American Soldiers and Flag of USA

Mesothelioma-Related VA Compensation

Veterans Affairs (VA) provides multiple types of compensation related to mesothelioma problems. Each of these mesothelioma-related VA compensation comes with a unique definition depending on their specific circumstances. Check out these mesothelioma-related VA compensation options:

VA Disability Compensation

Disability Compensation through the Veterans Affairs is tailored toward those veterans with service-related diseases. A perfect example is the peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. These two types of cancer qualify for VA Disability Compensation.

Veterans can receive this compensation through monthly payments. In this sense, the VA must prove that the military was the main cause of mesothelioma.

Rates for VA Disability Compensation may vary considerably. Often, these rates are based on a simple scale of 0% to 100%. If you are a mesothelioma patient, you automatically receive a rating of 100% for your disability. This means that veterans with mesothelioma are entitled to receive maximum VA Disability Compensation.

In practice, single veterans with this condition can get as much as $3,057 a month in the form of Disability Compensation. This amount of money is based solely on the veterans’ Compensation Benefits Rate Tables. The amount is subject to increase based on the total number of those who depend on you.

The number of beneficiaries that you may include on your list is your spouse, parents, and dependant children. In case you are just a veteran with a spouse, you will be entitled to receive approximately $3,227 a month in the form of Disability Compensation. On the other hand, you may receive an equivalent of $3,974 if you have a spouse and are in need of Aid& Attendance benefits.

VA Pension for Veterans with Mesothelioma

VA Pension, however, is for war veterans. In this case scenario, the VA Pension is only for veterans with a non-service-related disability. For instance, you may develop mesothelioma due to being exposed to heavy asbestos after your service. If this happens, then you are eligible to apply for a pension.

So, how does the VA Pension work? Typically, the VA Pension depends on the veterans’ income. This makes it difficult to determine what each veteran deserves compared to Disability Compensation.

Regardless, the VA strives to provide a Maximum Annual Pension Rate or MARP for all veterans with mesothelioma. If veterans happen to qualify for Housebound/Aid and Attendance benefits, their VA Pension will fluctuate.

Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits

Aid & Attendance and Household Benefits are additional compensations options for war veterans with Mesothelioma who also qualify for Pension or VA Disability Compensation. These extra options come in handy to help you if you need assistance with tasks such as dressing, preparing meals, or bathing among others. You may apply for Aid & Attendance and Household benefits if you are a veteran with mesothelioma.

Compensation for Dependents and Spouses

If you have mesothelioma, you are not the only one affected. Your entire family and other dependants may be affected as well. This is because your loved ones will take up the whole responsibility of looking after you throughout your life.

Therefore, your spouse, children, and other dependants can qualify for healthcare through the VA. Likewise, survivors of war veterans who passed away due to mesothelioma may receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation as well as Survivors Pension. They can also get assistance paying for the deceased veteran’s funeral expenses.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependent parents, dependent children, and spouses of the veteran who passed away due to service-related mesothelioma are entitled to Veteran Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Each loved one has specific qualifications tied to this benefit.

Some of the qualifications range from the duration the deceased was married to the spouse to how long their marriage lasted. When it comes to the dependent children of the deceased veteran, their age and marital status (for adults) are considered for this type of compensation.

Survivors Pension

Another form of compensation worth knowing is the Survivors Pension. This type of compensation comes in when you die due to non-service-related mesothelioma.

In this regard, your survivors will not be entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Instead, they will qualify for a Survivors Pension. For your dependent children to be eligible for this type of compensation, they should be unmarried.

Just like VA Pension, Survivors Pension has an income scale. The US government imposes restrictions on Surviros Pension based on dependent children or spouse’s income in general.

Other Compensations for War Veterans

Mesothelioma patients are not responsible for their health condition. These war heroes did nothing wrong to be in their current state of health. This makes companies involved in manufacturing, producing, and selling products made of asbestos liable for veterans’ disease.

Presumably, these companies knew the consequences and risks involved when their workers were exposed to this dangerous substance. Their failure to take action at the right place and right time put them at fault. If you are a veteran suffering from mesothelioma, just know the legal system caters to your needs.

Compensation Options Outside the Veteran Affairs

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allows veterans with service or non-service-related mesothelioma to apply for compensation. But these additional compensations are only limited to monthly stipends remitted by the US government.

In most instances, these payments do not cover all the cost of treatment that veterans with mesothelioma undertake. They also don’t handle other financial problems associated with this disease or eliminate the long-standing debts incurred by the affected veterans.

On the flip side, veterans have additional options that can greatly benefit them. They can file a legal suit for additional compensation. Their specific legal action against those asbestos-involved companies is their primary leverage for their financial woes or medical bills.

Lawsuits for Veterans with Mesothelioma

Treatment for mesothelioma is usually expensive. This makes patients have debts that run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some veterans go as far as depleting all their savings in the hope of winning the fight against their condition.

With a mesothelioma lawsuit, you are sure of getting the much-needed financial assistance for you and your loved ones. Apart from that, this particular lawsuit is less stressful than other legal situations. For that reason, make sure to seek assistance from mesothelioma attorneys US veterans where necessary.

Treatment Options for War Veterans with Mesothelioma

Every veteran struggling with mesothelioma must focus on treating their condition. This is why there are numerous services to help veterans in this situation overcome their problems. Thankfully, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs helps veterans access the best healthcare services in the country.

Healthcare Services for War Veterans

The VA boasts up to three world-class mesothelioma cancer treatment centers. They include:

  • Boston VA
  • Houston VA
  • West Los Angeles VA

The Boston VA Houston VA and West Los Angeles VA are known for their exemplary treatment services for mesothelioma conditions among veterans. All these healthcare centers work hand in hand with the top three hospitals that offer world-class mesothelioma treatment in the United States.

The three hospitals are:

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston)
  • Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (Houston)
  • The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center

Boston Veteran Affairs

There is a full multidisciplinary and highly qualified team of dedicated mesothelioma specialists in Boston. These professionals get their support from the prestigious and well-known mesothelioma program based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Hassan Khalil, a renowned mesothelioma specialist, and thoracic surgeon is the head of the mesothelioma program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The doctor upholds the Boston VA’s good reputation for mesothelioma treatment involving veterans. Dr. Khalil is the only known Veteran Affairs mesothelioma specialist all over the East Coast.

An additional benefit of getting mesothelioma treatment at Boston VA is that the war veterans with mesothelioma will not pay any additional amount for their treatment. This sounds like a free service to the veterans struggling with Mesothelioma.

Houston Veteran Affair

The newest and most modern VA hospital in Houston is the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center. The hospital provides a specialized type of mesothelioma treatment program across Houston.

In addition to that, the Houston Veteran Affairs works in collaboration with Baylor Saint Lukes Medical center. This is one of the most exemplary cancer treatment healthcare facilities across the country.

Both hospitals provide excellent treatment for mesothelioma cancer to veterans in Houston. These hospitals have experienced medical teams that take care of veterans with mesothelioma.

In particular, Dr. Taylor Ripley, a specialist in pleural mesothelioma, heads the mesothelioma program at Baylor Saint Luke’s Hospital. He further works closely with Dr. Lorraine Cornwell (a thoracic surgeon) when conducting most pleural mesothelioma surgical operations. The third specialist on this Houston VA team is Dr. Eugene Choi, who also focuses on peritoneal mesothelioma cancer cases in veterans within Houston.

West Los Angeles Veteran Affairs

The only hospital that provides mesothelioma treatment for veterans on the West Coast is the West Los Angeles VA. At this health facility, you can receive healthcare from experienced and highly skilled mesothelioma specialists.

So far, this hospital is among the most outstanding cancer treatment centers in the United States. This is true thanks to its policy of accepting all mesothelioma veterans from any part of the country in addition to those in South California.

Final Thought

Veterans are usually the most affected group of people when it comes to mesothelioma. They consist of the largest group of individuals with the disease in the United States. Most of them are yet to know their fate regarding the available financial and medical options. Luckily, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is there to handle all cases regarding mesothelioma among veterans.

Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer. Most people have limited knowledge of this condition. Even experienced medical experts are still researching more about this type of cancer. But the bottom line is that this type of cancer is caused by asbestos exposure. So, if you are affected by this condition, make sure to reach out to mesothelioma attorneys US navy veterans for further assistance.

Interested in reading more about Mesothelioma? Read our latest article here.

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