Today, the United States military itself can not be held responsible for diseases that resulted from asbestos exposure that occurred within the Army, Navy, or its other branches. If you are a military veteran, you might be wondering who is to blame for your life-threatening condition. In most cases it can be another employer, an asbestos manufacturer, or an insurance company that is held liable for your asbestos-related disease.
For many veterans, getting the help they need and deserve is a high priority. Medical bills can add up fast, and many veterans are unable to pay for expensive surgeries and treatments. An asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer can help guide veterans through the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for medical bills, wages lost due to time off at work, pain and suffering, and more. The statute of limitations can vary from one to six years, depending on what state you are in. This makes it imperative for veterans to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
Filing a claim for disability compensation with the VA can be a daunting task. It is easy to get tangled up just trying to figure out which type of claim you need to file. There are some veterans who never apply because the process just seems too complicated to maneuver through.
Although it can be a challenge, the claims process has definitely improved over the years, especially with the help of technology. Only a short few years ago, the claims process was still a paper process and the VA’s Blog indicates that each year they handled five thousand tons of paper, which according to the VA, is an amount equivalent to two hundred empire state buildings.
It is our hope that these frequently asked questions will help point you in the right direction.
- What are the types of disability compensation available?
- There are four different types of compensation available to veterans and their families, including disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, special monthly compensation, and claims based on special circumstances. To find out more about the types of compensation you might be eligible for, view the Compensation section of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ website.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also provides a short video on compensation on their eBenefits website.
- What types of disability claims are there?
- Many disabled veterans are eligible for benefits no matter when or where they served. Receiving your benefits begins by filing a claim. There are different types of claims that can apply to your compensation, all based on when your disability originated. If you have been physically or mentally disabled due to an injury or disease prior to, during, or after your time of service, you may be eligible for disability compensation. There are also claims filed for those with special circumstances. To find out if your condition qualifies you for disability compensation, see the Types of Claims page on the U.S. Department of Affairs’ website.
- What are the steps in the claim process and how long does it take?
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes the claims process in eight steps. No claim is identical, and the time each step takes can vary from veteran to veteran. If you are preparing to file a claim, gathering as much evidence as possible will help to minimize the processing time. To find out more about how you can prepare to file, click here.
- How do I apply for disability compensation?
- The VA and the Department of Defense provide an eBenefits website that allows veterans to apply for compensation and manage the process online. This electronic method is will allow a veteran to quickly file their claim and keep track of the progress by logging into the site.
- While filing online will help minimize processing time, the VA also recommends appointing a Veterans Service Officer, claims agent, or attorney to assist you in completing a Fully Developed Claim. You can find out more about requesting a representative for VA claims, here.
- Some veterans choose to download and print forms to submit a claim. Forms can be mailed into the nearest VA Regional Office. Veterans are also able to visit a VA Regional Office to seek support in filing their claim.
- Read more about the different ways to apply for disability compensation on the VA website.
- How can I create an eBenefits account?
- Creating an eBenefits account begins by registering on the site at www.eBenefits.va.gov. Once an account is created, you will be able to log in, fill out forms, and submit them. You will also be able to track the status of your claim.
- Registration Page
- Who is eligible to file?
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes eligibility for disability compensation as:
- Service in the Uniformed Services on active duty, OR
- Active duty for training, OR
- Inactive duty training, AND
- You were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
- You are at least 10% disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training, or inactive duty training
- Note: If you were on inactive duty for training, the disability must have resulted from injury, heart attack, or stroke.
- Find out more about eligibility for filing a compensation claim, here.
- Do I have to apply online?
- No. While filing online is described as the quickest way to file a claim, a veteran can send in their claim by mail or visit a VA Regional Office to submit claims and receive assistance with filing.
- Veterans can also request an attorney, claims agent, or Veteran Service Organization (VSO) representative to help them file their claim.
- Find out more, here.
- What is a VSO?
- Veterans Services organizations provide free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- Find out more, here.
- How do I find an Accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO)?
- An accredited Veterans Service Officer can assist a veteran in filing a Fully Developed Claim (FDC). Being accredited ensures you receive qualified and competent representation when filing your claim.
- Request a VSO representative, here.
- What evidence do I need to provide with my claim?
- The key to filing a quick and successful claim is gathering as much evidence as possible to submit to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including discharge or separation papers, service treatment records, and other medical evidence.
- Is there an easy way to ask someone at the VBA a question?
- If you are unable to make it to the nearest VA Regional Office, you can ask the Veterans Benefits Administration questions through this contact form.
- What is the fastest way to get your claim processed?
- Where can I find the various claim forms online?
- VA claims forms are available on this website. They can be submitted online, or printed out and mailed into the nearest claims intake center. Veterans can also contact a claims agent, attorney, or accredited Veterans Service Organization to help complete and submit all of the necessary forms.
- Are there any Veterans Benefits Administration offices near me?
- There are Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices in every state.
- Are there specific benefits for different groups such as elderly, homeless, or incarcerated veterans?