Receiving disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affair (VA) requires a veteran to be diagnosed with an illness or injury that can be connected to their military service. While you can’t receive benefits for simply being exposed to asbestos, you may have a valid claim if you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.
Common Asbestos-Related Illnesses
Breathing asbestos fibers damages the lungs and can lead to several illnesses. The most common include:
- Asbestosis, a type of scarring of lung tissue
- Pleural plaques that cause scarring in the inner surface of the ribcage and area surrounding the lungs
- Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer involving the tissue that lines your lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs
- Lung cancer
Asbestos-related illnesses do not occur immediately. People are generally diagnosed with medical conditions caused by asbestos 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure. Shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain are the most common symptoms of health problems caused by asbestos.
How Asbestos Exposure Occurs
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in many construction materials. Some of the ways veterans can be exposed to asbestos include:
- Demolition of old buildings
- Carpentry and construction
- Manufacturing and installing products such as flooring or roofing
- Mining, milling, or shipyard work
- Serving in Iraq or other countries where older buildings commonly contain asbestos and fibers were released in the air when buildings were damaged
If you are filing a disability claim for an asbestos-related illness, you’ll need to show that at least 50% of your asbestos exposure occurred during your time in the military. This requires you to submit a detailed accounting of your activities during your service as well as sources of exposure during civilian life.
Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure your asbestos exposure summary contains all of the necessary information. If needed, your attorney can also guide you through your decision review options.
Speak With a Veterans Benefits Lawyer
If you need to speak with an experienced veterans benefits lawyer, please contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.