According to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, there are currently over 327,000 vets in Minnesota – around 6% of the state’s population.
Veterans, particularly those from the U.S. Navy, are at high risk for asbestos diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. This is because many vets were exposed to asbestos while serving. Sometimes, the exposure came from working in a particular type of job, such as a shipyard or construction. In other cases, asbestos was released when buildings were damaged during warfare, releasing toxic chemicals and asbestos fibers.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is well aware of the issue. According to the VA, you may be eligible for veterans disability benefits if you have an asbestos-related disease as long as:
- You had contact with asbestos while you were serving in the military and
- You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge
This could mean you are eligible for paid healthcare for the disease along with compensation for your disability. These payments do not require you to file a lawsuit, although you do have to file a disability claim.
A disability claim through the VA requires three main things:
- Medical records showing your illness or disability
- Service records listing your job or specialty
- A doctor’s statement that there is a connection between your service-related contact with asbestos and your illness or disability
How do I know my illness is asbestos-related?
If you are suffering from a serious illness like cancer, you can be tested to determine what type of cancer you have. If it turns out to be mesothelioma, there is a very good chance you could show it was related to your asbestos exposure in the military.
The VA recommends getting tested if your service related to any of the following:
Additionally, the VA says you should be tested if you worked with any of the following products:
- Cement sheet
- Clutch facings and brake linings (friction products) used on cars, trains or other vehicles
Get the help and support you need
Filing any sort of claim for an asbestos-related illness can be a challenge. You may need assistance with the technical aspects of proving a service-connected disability. Sieben Polk, P.A., offers a free initial consultation in which you can learn about your options for compensation.