A Guide to Getting Financial Help for Veterans with Mesothelioma

Veterans with mesothelioma make up one of the largest groups to be impacted by asbestos toxicity and its associated illnesses. The dangerous carcinogen—or cancer-causing substance—was utilized by every branch of the military, with an especially high rate of use among the U.S. Navy. Now, decades afterwards, thousands of veterans have fallen ill—and incurred millions of dollars in treatment costs, as a result.

For these victims and their families, the financial burden can be extraordinarily heavy. Many affected veterans are retired by the time of diagnosis; and living on a fixed income, the costs of medical treatment can quickly become overwhelming. In addition to paying for chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or other treatments, patients are also responsible for the bills resulting from consultations with medical specialists, hospitalizations and medications. Because obtaining the very best possible care often means journeying to exclusive cancer treatment centers, travel expenses can further the debt.

The good news is that monetary support is available to veterans with mesothelioma and their families. Three readily available sources are: legal recourse through an asbestos law firm, benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Services (colloquially referred to as the VA) and assistance provided by established charities.

Filing a personal injury claim against the parties responsible for your exposure to asbestos—known to be the direct cause of up to 90 percent of mesothelioma cases—is the best was to recoup your losses. Litigation related to asbestos injuries is a specialized legal field, within which many attorneys practice exclusively. To date, those professionals have helped more than 700,000 claimants secure an asbestos lawsuit settlement, often totaling in the millions.

Veterans with mesothelioma should contact an attorney and file a claim as soon as they are diagnosed, to preserve the sanctity of their case and ensure that they do not pass the statutes of limitations that each state maintains. They should be aware, however, that receiving a settlement can potentially take years, and many victims of mesothelioma live only a year (or even less) after diagnosis. This is all the more reason to act quickly in the commencement of the legal process.

The VA offers exclusive benefits to veterans affected by asbestos and other occupational hazards. These include free heath assessments to screen for potential illness and medical care relating to any given diagnosis. Disability compensation is also available to these individuals. Other services and benefits provided to veterans in need include loans to purchase a home and assistance for surviving spouses and other dependants.

There are also several charities that may offer assistance to veterans with mesothelioma and their families. One of these is the Fisher House Foundation, which provides lodging accommodations for the families of veterans receiving treatment at a VA health care facility. Another, the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust (DAVCST) provides grants to help cover things like the cost of transportation to and from those facilities.

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