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What Is the VA Disability Claims Process for Veterans with Mesothelioma?

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on June 1, 2021

If you served as a member of any branch of the military and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA). VA disability benefits can help you pay for your medical expenses related to mesothelioma, including surgeries and chemotherapy. Take the following steps to file your VA disability claim as a veteran with mesothelioma in New York.

Fill Out the Correct Paperwork

First, contact your local VA office and request the correct disability claims forms. You can contact the New York Division of Veterans’ Services at 1-888-838-7697 to be connected to a benefits advisor. Once you receive the forms, fill them out using information about yourself and your claim with help from your advisor. You may have to answer questions about your years in service, where you traveled as a soldier, your jobs after service and your illness.

Prove That You Are Eligible

You must meet certain qualifications to receive any type of disability benefit from the VA’s office, including compensation for asbestos exposure. You must provide evidence and documentation proving your eligibility along with your claims paperwork. Do your best to gather proof of the required elements before initiating the claims process. Your benefits advisor can help.

Confirmed Mesothelioma Diagnosis

First, you will need to submit proof of your verified mesothelioma diagnosis. This will come from your doctor or a mesothelioma specialist. Your physician will make a diagnosis after conducting a physical exam and other tests, such as a biopsy to check your tissues for mesothelioma cancer cells. You can use copies of your medical records, as well as a letter from your doctor, to send in as proof to the VA.

Service-Related Illness

Next, you must prove that your asbestos exposure occurred during your military service. As a veteran of the armed forces, you may have been exposed to asbestos for an extended time while serving. If you were in the Navy, for example, you may have encountered asbestos in shipyards, as asbestos used to be a popular shipbuilding material.

Many different products and materials used by soldiers – and found in New York military bases – may also contain asbestos, including armored vehicles, gas masks, brake pads, communication systems, fireproofing equipment and construction materials. If you are not sure what constitutes proof that you were exposed to asbestos during your time in the military, your VA claims specialist can help. Your advisor can request a copy of your military personnel file, for example, to document where you traveled with the military.

You Were Honorably Discharged

To be eligible for any VA disability benefits, you must prove that you were honorably discharged from the military. You can do this using your DD-241 separation paperwork from the military. If you were dishonorably discharged, Veterans Affairs benefits do not apply to you and will not help with your mesothelioma case.

Submit the Paperwork

Your benefits advisor can submit your disability benefits claim on your behalf once you have completed the paperwork and gathered all required information. The VA will then review the claim and notify you in writing of its decision. If the VA denies the claim, you can file an appeal, if desired.

Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer for Help

In general, the VA acknowledges that mesothelioma is a service-related illness. This can make the process of receiving disability benefits easier than with other types of diseases. However, you may still encounter complications that interfere with your ability to recover benefits. If you need assistance filing a VA disability claim for mesothelioma, contact a mesothelioma attorney in New York.

A lawyer can make the claims process easier, as well as review your other potential options for financial compensation, such as a personal injury lawsuit against the party that exposed you to asbestos. Your attorney can also take care of the difficult claims process for you – including going up against an insurance company – while you focus on your future.

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