Filing a Mesothelioma Claim with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides financial assistance, medical care and various other benefits to veterans of the United States. Essentially the VA was established:

"To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan..."

Abraham Lincoln

The VA was formed to care for those who have provided an enormous service to their country.


The United States has the most extensive benefits system available to veterans of any country in the world. This system dates back to 1639 during the war of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony and the Pequot Indians when the pilgrims passed a law allowing disabled soldiers supported by the colony. The Federal Government in 1811 authorized the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans. The actual Veterans Administration was established in 1930 to create one consolidated entity for government activities involving veterans.

Benefits Available To Veterans

veteran benefits A wide range of benefits and resources are available to veterans discharged under any condition other than a dishonorable discharge. The VA offers benefits such as:

  • disability compensation
  • pension, which is also available to surviving spouses and children
  • educational assistance through the GI Bill
  • vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, which helps veterans prepare for, find and keep a suitable job
  • a job search resource website called Vet Success
  • dependants education assistance for a son, daughter or spouse
  • survivor benefits
  • home loan assistance through VA-guaranteed and VA-financial loans for foreclosed properties and assistance to homeless veterans
  • life insurance since obtaining insurance from private companies can be difficult due to the extra risks involved in military service or service connected disabilities
  • cemetery and burial assistance.

Online resources and brochures are also available providing information about research, education, and training in suicide prevention and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Survivor Benefits

survivor benefitsA widow or widower is entitled to full benefits at the full retirement age of 65 years or reduced benefits as early as age 60. A disabled widow or widower is entitled to benefits as early as age 50. Also, a widow or widower at any age who is caring for the decedent's child under the age of 16 or a disabled widow or widower receiving Social Security Benefits are entitled to benefits.

Benefits are available to unmarried children up to age 18, or age 19 if still attending high school full-time. Stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children are eligible for benefits under certain circumstances. Also, children who were disabled before the age of 22 who remain disabled are eligible. Dependent parents age 62 or older are also eligible for benefits.

Filing a Claim with The VA

Time limits exist to file a claim with the VA, and these vary by state, but typically within two years of diagnosis, a claim should be submitted. The first step in the process is to fill out a VA Form 21-526, which can be requested by calling 1-888-888-1136 or filling out the form. After signing a medical release, your private medical records reviewed along with your application.

The VA may request that you have a physical examination at a VA hospital, although some types of claims do not require this. Your claim will then be rated approximately 2 to 3 months after receiving your application. The rating determines if you will get paid, and if so how much, based on laws passed by Congress. Shortly after that, a decision will be made on your claim.

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