Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis usually leaves people with plenty of questions. The most common are related to finances:
- “Can I afford mesothelioma treatment?”
- “Will I need to travel to see a specialist?”
- “What will happen if I lose my job?”
- “Will my family be OK financially if I pass away?”
Those are all valid questions, and ones mesothelioma patients face regularly. If you’re a mesothelioma patient, then we can help answer some of these questions for you:
- Mesothelioma treatment can be costly, and most patients can’t afford it on their own without going into debt.
- This cancer is rare, and few doctors specialize in treating it. Therefore, you’ll likely need to travel, and that also can be expensive.
- Losing full-time employment leaves many patients and their families struggling financially.
- Many families of deceased mesothelioma patients struggle with finances (due to funeral costs, lost wages, unresolved debt and lingering medical bills) for years.
While these answers are grim, they don’t need to be. There are ways to remove a large portion of the financial strain caused by this disease.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, consider these three options (four options if you’re a veteran) to ensure you get the treatment you need without incurring years of financial baggage.
Take Legal Action
The two primary legal options for mesothelioma patients are lawsuits and asbestos trust funds. Using either following your diagnosis may seem unsettling, and we understand why. Many patients are shy about seeking mesothelioma compensation for numerous reasons:
- They aren’t the “type of person” to file a lawsuit or trust fund claim
- They don’t want to be perceived in a negative way
- They believe the legal process will be overwhelming
None of these reasons should cut someone off from seeking treatment or making their family comfortable. Taking legal action is not unethical. In fact, this approach better ensures that future generations of Americans won’t suffer from the same cancer.
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure, and the link traces all the way back to the manufacturing corporations that knew asbestos was dangerous but didn’t tell their workers or the general public. These companies took advantage of people, and a legal claim holds them accountable for their actions.
Additionally, filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claim is one of the most effective ways to cover the costs of treatment. Like said earlier, treating this cancer isn’t cheap, often resulting in medical bills totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mesothelioma compensation can wipe away these costs and reduce your financial stress. Talk with one of our patient advocates — Jenna Campagna (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carl Jewett (email@example.com) — about how to begin this process.
Mesothelioma patients often must travel to receive high-quality care for their disease. Taking a flight across the country, booking a hotel room for multiple nights and other travel expenses can all dwindle your savings or retirement funds. Some patients simply cannot afford it even after dipping into their savings.
That’s why companies have stepped up and created programs for people with diseases like mesothelioma:
- The Corporate Angel Network gives free flights on corporate jets to patients who need to travel long distances for treatment.
- Angel Flights Inc., a non-profit company funded through grants and private funding, provides patients with flights to the Midwest (helpful for people going to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas).
- Airbnb offers free housing to cancer patients who are traveling for treatment.
- The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge program provides free housing for families of cancer patients. This service is free and available if a Hope Lodge location is nearby the center used for treatment.
- Fisher House Foundations has houses located on the properties of major medical military hospitals. The foundations provide family members of veterans with housing accommodations during treatment, which is much-needed since veterans comprise one-third of all mesothelioma patients.
Jenna Campagna, RN has helped many patients travel at a reduced cost to meet with specialists and undergo treatment. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need similar assistance.
Government insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid have helped many eligible Americans pay for mesothelioma treatment. However, even for those with these health plans, not all of the costs are covered.
Social Security Disability is another effective financial option for patients. Most people think of Social Security as a benefits program for retirees, but it’s also available to people under age 65 who have disabilities like mesothelioma and are unable to work.
Another way the government assists mesothelioma patients is through the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Mesothelioma is included as a Compassionate Allowances condition, which means mesothelioma patients go through an expedited process for receiving benefits.
The standard disability claims process usually takes months, and some patients need treatment immediately. The Compassionate Allowances guidelines can help people receive payment in a shorter amount of time than usual. For more help on applying for Social Security Disability, contact our patient advocate team.
Veterans Affairs Claims
Veterans make up the largest group of people with mesothelioma, and the primary reason is the United States military relied heavily on asbestos. Barracks, ships and aircraft were built with asbestos to prevent fires, but installing the mineral or being in its presence when loose was a danger to military personnel.
If you’re a veteran with mesothelioma, then you have an additional method for attaining financial assistance. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides multiple avenues for receiving compensation.
The two primary options are VA Disability Compensation and VA Pension, and each applies in different circumstances. Eligibility for VA Disability Compensation requires that the veteran’s asbestos exposure occurred during their military service.
The Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables, which was updated Dec. 1, 2019, lists the monthly payments for veterans with mesothelioma:
- Single veterans receive $3,106.04.
- Married veterans receive $3,279.22.
- Veterans with a spouse, two parents and a child as their dependants receive $3,684.01.
VA Pension is available to wartime veterans whose asbestos exposure occurred outside of their military service. VA Pension is a tax-free benefit dependent on income, which means each claim is more unique.
The Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) for single veterans, as of Dec. 1, 2019, is $13,752. However, some expenses (such as out-of-pocket medical costs) can be deducted from the income.
Filing a Veterans Affairs (VA) claim is a simple process if you have help from an expert, such as Veterans Service Representative Carl Jewett (email@example.com). Email him with any questions or concerns you have, and he’ll guide you through the VA claims process.