If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you deserve support. The physical, emotional, and financial burdens of this asbestos-related cancer are immense. Thankfully, there are certain protections in place in our country to ensure that mesothelioma patients receive disability benefits for their illnesses. Why? Because the vast majority of asbestos-related diseases, particularly aggressive cancers like mesothelioma, are attributed to long-term asbestos exposure either in the workplace or while in the line of duty.
Let’s explore the disability benefits and compensation available for both veterans and civilians, below.
Just like numerous industries, the US military has historically relied on asbestos-containing materials throughout most of the twentieth century. It was not until the 1980s that the use of asbestos went into sharp decline, yet the harmful mineral still has not been eliminated. Mesothelioma can take decades to fully develop. Meanwhile, the damage has already been done and our veterans are suffering the deadly costs.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers several compensation options, including disability benefits, to veterans who develop mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos while in service. These benefits include health care and financial compensation. How do you know if you are eligible for mesothelioma VA disability benefits?
The amount of disability benefits and compensation that you can receive as a veteran with mesothelioma can vary. As stated above, mesothelioma is most often considered a 100% disability, so you will likely receive the higher end of the range of benefits.
If you are a UD civilian of legal working age (under 65 years old) who is unable to work due to a debilitating mesothelioma diagnosis, then you too will be eligible to receive certain government benefits. These benefits come in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Due to what’s called a compassionate allowance, the Social Security Administration expedites all proven cases of malignant cases such as mesothelioma. What’s more, after two years of receiving these benefits, mesothelioma patients may also receive Medicare coverage.
SSDI is calculated just the same as regular retirement benefits are calculated. The more Social Security taxes you paid into the system while you were still able to work, the more monthly compensation you would receive. If you have stopped working due to the severity of your mesothelioma and you have medical records to back it up, then it is almost always advisable that you apply for SSDI first, rather than applying for early retirement benefits. Why? Because your fixed monthly income will be calculated at the full amount with SSDI.
There is an additional welfare benefit available for civilians with documented mesothelioma diagnosis called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program is not paid for by Social Security taxes, rather, it is available for those who have not earned enough taxable income to be eligible for SSDI or retirement benefits. These low-income mesothelioma patients may also receive Medicaid and food stamps. The amount of SSI compensation can also increase based on their home state’s contributions to the federal benefits program.
If you have received a mesothelioma diagnosis, then it is vital to properly document and file for the benefits you are eligible for. Whether you are a US military veteran or a civilian with mesothelioma, your diagnosis alone is not enough to guarantee that you will receive government benefits.
Due to the technical, detail-oriented nature of filing for VA Disability Benefits, Social Security, or Supplemental Security Income, we recommend relying on an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to ensure your case is approved. Simple mistakes and omissions can result in months of backlog at best, or case denial at worst. Those months are valuable months of your life that can never be taken back—while thousands of dollars in potential help go down the drain.
We can establish a connection between your service or work-related asbestos exposure and your diagnosis, leading to an expedited process that allows you to receive the benefits you need quickly. Contact us today for a free consultation on your mesothelioma case.