Asbestos, a quiet but deadly enemy inside, is another danger our brave military heroes face on the dangerous path of protecting our country. Exposure to asbestos while serving in the military may make a veteran eligible for compensation for survivors or veteran benefits connected to mesothelioma.
This article delves into the benefits for veterans with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, by explaining the usual sites of exposure and the disability benefits that veterans may be eligible for.
Asbestos Exposure in the Military
Before its carcinogenic characteristics were discovered in the 1950s, the flexible fibers of the heat-and corrosion-resistant material known asbestos were extensively used in the building industry. Until its slow phase-out in the 1970s, it saw considerable usage in military structures, ships, and other sites.
It is difficult to put a number on the number of veterans who may have been exposed to asbestos while serving. The risk of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis, is high among veterans who served between 1940 and 1970.
Mesothelioma in the Navy
From the 1930s through the 1980s, asbestos was used by almost every ship in the United States Navy, making it the branch with the most significant asbestos utilization. Practically every sailor was exposed to asbestos at some point, but specific jobs were more dangerous than others because of the close quarters in which they worked.
Several occupations were particularly vulnerable, including that of below-deck engineers, pipefitters, and welders. Ships from the Navy, including submarines, aircraft carriers, and patrol boats, all contained asbestos and other toxic chemicals.
Army and Asbestos
Asbestos-related problems were also experienced by the Army, particularly in the context of building projects and the production of military equipment. All across the place, from barracks to tanks, asbestos was prevalent, putting the troops in danger of being exposed to it.
The exposure of soldiers to asbestos continues to be a cause for worry since it is a contributing factor to the increasing number of instances of mesothelioma among military personnel.
Air Force and Asbestos
The Air Force, primarily concerned with aircraft, was not exempt from this requirement. It was common practice to utilize asbestos in airplane components, which jeopardized the health of pilots, technicians, and ground workers. The mesothelioma cases that have occurred in the Air Force shed light on the far-reaching repercussions that asbestos exposure may have on the military.
Mesothelioma Among Veterans
Many veterans are still dealing with the terrible effects of asbestos exposure, even after decades of military service. Delayed diagnosis and restricted treatment choices are common because mesothelioma symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, chest discomfort, and unexplained weight loss, often appear long after retirement and can be challenging to treat.
There is an immediate need for more understanding and assistance within the military community regarding the tragic reality of mesothelioma among veterans.
Mesothelioma Veterans Benefits
Veterans may get disability compensation from the VA if they can prove they were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. Under diagnostic code 6819, mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung malignancies are assigned a handicap rating of 100%.
Results from pulmonary function tests are the primary factor in determining the severity of noncancerous diseases, such as asbestosis, which may be rated as 10%, 30%, 60%, or 100%. To show exposure, veterans must provide their military papers.
Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) for Mesothelioma
Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) payments may be available to veterans who cannot hold gainful work due to service-connected impairments. The sum paid out each month under this scheme equals a 100% disability rating. With a survival rate of 15-22 months after diagnosis, mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat.
VA Benefits for Mesothelioma Survivors
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments may be obtained by surviving spouses, children, or parents in the event of a loved one's death from mesothelioma or asbestos-related illnesses. For dependents, the minimum DIC payout may be increased to $1,562.74 per month under certain circumstances. When a veteran dies, they are still allowed to pursue any claims or appeals that the VA has already filed.