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Veterans account for 30% of annual mesothelioma claims: Those who completed military service between 1930 and 1980 have a significantly higher risk of experiencing asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma.

There are some branches of the military, like the Navy, that endured more exposure than others. Though Navy veterans are at higher risk, all veterans and service members should understand how they may have come into contact with asbestos during active duty.




DID YOU KNOW? Veterans run a high risk of developing mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos. In fact, as a group, they account for 30 percent of all diagnoses in the U.S. Luckily, there are a number of veterans benefits available for military veterans impacted by asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma.

Types of Veterans Benefits for Mesothelioma

U.S. military veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are eligible for several benefits programs that provide financial and other compensation including:

    • VA Healthcare
    • Veterans Disability Benefits
    • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
    • Special Monthly Compensation


Eligibility and compensation for each program can vary based on several factors, including the number of dependents and level of disability. 

VA Healthcare

Veterans may be eligible for healthcare benefits through the VA if they served in the military and did not receive a dishonorable discharge. 

The VA healthcare system offers a variety of treatment options for mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.

Veterans Disability Benefits

Disability benefits are available for veterans with a service-connected disability if a condition was caused or aggravated by their military service. Veterans may be eligible for benefits like monthly financial compensation based on their level of disability.

Malignant mesothelioma cases are considered 100 percent disabling. The basic monthly benefit is a total of $3,621.95 per month.Spouses and dependents also increase the amount of monthly compensation.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC, is a tax-free monthly benefit paid to surviving spouses of veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disability, including mesothelioma. This benefit includes financial compensation of $1,562.74, with extra compensation available under specific circumstances, including having additional dependents under the age of 18. 

Special Monthly Compensation

Special monthly compensation (SMC) is another type of financial compensation specifically for disabled veterans from the VA. SMC is a higher compensation rate paid to veterans who have lost the use of specific organs or body parts due to their service.

How Are Veterans Exposed to Asbestos Fibers?

Depending on their branch and time of service, veterans could have experienced asbestos exposure from several different sources during their service—and any of these exposures may have resulted in inhaling asbestos fibers, which puts them at risk for mesothelioma and other diseases. Some of the most common places veterans were exposed to asbestos include shipyards, mining sites, milling sites, boiler rooms, and more.

U.S. Navy veterans are at a higher risk of asbestos exposure since asbestos was commonly used on Navy ships throughout the 20th century as a fireproofing method. Additionally, many sailors used asbestos-containing products like boilers, pipes, gaskets, and more.

Mesothelioma and Veterans Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common asbestos-related diseases affecting veterans?

Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer are all common asbestos-related cancers affecting veterans. Veterans may also suffer from asbestosis and pleural effusion as a result of asbestos exposure. 

What branches of the U.S. military are at risk of asbestos exposure? Who is at the highest risk?

Asbestos was used throughout the military branches (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy) until the 1980s and many veterans from these branches are at risk of exposure. Given asbestos use in shipyards, U.S. Navy veterans tend to be at a greater risk of asbestos exposure. 

Are surviving spouses of veterans impacted by service-related asbestos exposure eligible for financial compensation?

Surviving spouses and other loved ones may be eligible for financial compensation. Family members may receive burial benefits, and VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC). 

Is there a time limit to submit a mesothelioma disability claim to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs?

All branches of the armed forces have used asbestos at different times. As a result, there is no time limit to submit a mesothelioma disability legal claim to the VA to support your mesothelioma treatment from specialists. 

Filing for VA Disability Compensation After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

As a veteran who’s been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you’re entitled to benefits and disability compensation from the VA. You must file a claim with the VA and meet certain criteria to get these benefits. We can help you file your claim and receive compensation.

Chris McKean

Chris is accredited with the VA and specializes in helping veterans with their VA claims for service-connected disabilities. 


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