Written By: Devin Golden

VA Claims for Mesothelioma

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers many compensation and health benefits to veterans who have mesothelioma, as well as their spouses and surviving dependents. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos. However, it usually takes at least 20 years to manifest after initial exposure to asbestos. As such, most veterans are diagnosed decades after their discharge from the military.

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

Reviewed By

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

VA-Accredited Claims Agent


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Important Facts About VA Claims

  • There are several benefits available to veterans with mesothelioma, such as disability compensation, pension, aid & attendance, housebound benefits and health care.
  • Veterans with mesothelioma are not the only ones benefitting from VA compensation. There are several programs available to surviving dependents, such dependency & indemnity compensation, survivors pension, aid & attendance, CHAMPVA health insurance and burial benefits.
  • Filing a VA claim can seem overwhelming due to the number of benefits available to veterans and survivors. Retired LCDR Carl Jewett can simplify the process and ensure all required forms and paperwork have been submitted properly.

Types of Mesothelioma VA Claims

Many veterans believe that because they served so long ago, they are not entitled to VA benefits for their mesothelioma diagnosis. This could not be further from the truth. Let’s explore the benefits available to veterans and their families and how to apply for each benefit.

Veterans with malignant pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma may be eligible for the following VA benefits:

  • VA Disability Compensation
  • VA Pension
  • Aid & Attendance (A&A) and Housebound benefits
  • Additional compensation when a spouse requires A&A
  • VA Health Care

Surviving dependents of a Veteran who passed away from mesothelioma may be eligible for:

  • Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
  • Survivors Pension
  • Aid and Attendance (A&A)
  • CHAMPVA Health Insurance
  • Burial Benefits

While it is possible for a veteran or surviving dependent to file a claim with the VA on their own, we highly recommend seeking the assistance of a VA-Accredited Claims Agent. This will ensure all documentation is filled out properly, the veteran’s exposure summary is sufficient enough for approval and ensure all supporting documentation is included with the claims form.

Mesothelioma Guide has a VA-Accredited Claims Agent specializing in asbestos related VA claims. Retired LCDR Carl Jewett is available to provide free assistance to veterans and their family members in filing VA benefits.

VA Benefits for Veterans with Mesothelioma

There are various benefits available to veterans with mesothelioma. Some of these benefits include disability compensation, pension, aid and attendance benefits, as well as health care programs. Below we will explain each benefit and the documentation necessary to file each type of claim.

VA Disability Compensation for Mesothelioma

Veterans with mesothelioma are eligible for VA Disability Compensation if the majority of their exposure to asbestos occurred in the military.

To file a claim for disability compensation, a veteran with mesothelioma will need to submit the following to the VA:

  • VA Form 21-526EZ: Application for Disability Compensation
  • DD-214 or military discharge documents
  • Asbestos exposure summary letter
  • Copy of all medical records related to the veteran’s mesothelioma diagnosis

If the veteran is married and/or has dependent children, the veteran will also need to submit the following documents:

  • VA Form 21-686c: Dependency Form
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce decree or death certificate for any prior marriages
  • Birth certificates for any dependent children (under the age of 18 or under 23 if attending high school or a full-time college or university
  • VA Form 21-2680 if the veteran is housebound or in need of Aid & Attendance (A&A)

Many veterans have no idea the extent of their military asbestos exposure. Veterans from all branches of the military had ample opportunities to come in contact with asbestos, not just Navy veterans.

If you are a Veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma and are unsure of the extent to which you were exposed to asbestos in the military, our VA-Accredited Claims Agent can help determine if you were exposed to asbestos while serving on active duty.

VA Pension for Mesothelioma

Wartime veterans who were exposed to more asbestos in their civilian career than in the military may be eligible for VA Pension. Wartime service requires at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during a period of war. However, in-theater or battlefield service is not required.

VA Pension is a means tested benefit, meaning a veteran’s income and assets must be under the income limits set by Congress in order to qualify for VA Pension. Veterans must also either be totally disabled (a mesothelioma diagnosis meets this requirement) or be over the age of 65.

To file a VA claim for pension, a veteran with mesothelioma will need to submit the following to the VA:

  • VA Form 21P-527EZ: Application for Veterans Pension
  • DD-214 or military discharge documents
  • Medical records related to the veteran’s mesothelioma diagnosis (if under 65 years of age)
  • Marriage license (if married)
  • Birth certificates for any dependent children
  • VA Form 21-2680 if the veteran is housebound or in need of Aid & Attendance (A&A)

Many veterans with mesothelioma believe if the majority of their asbestos exposure was not in the military, they are not eligible for any VA benefits. However, many veterans with mesothelioma caused primarily by their civilian jobs qualify for VA Pension. Our VA-Accredited Claims Agent, LCDR Carl Jewett can help determine if you qualify for VA Pension.

Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits for Mesothelioma

Aid & Attendance (A&A) is an additional monetary benefit available to veterans in receipt of VA Disability Compensation (VADC) or VA Pension. In order to qualify for A&A, the veteran must require the assistance of another person to perform at least two activities of daily living, which include bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom and managing medications. A&A adds an additional $913.21 per month to the veteran’s monthly disability pay.

A veteran in receipt of VADC or VA Pension with housebound status can also receive additional monthly compensation. Housebound status means a veteran is unable to leave their residence due to their disability or illness. Housebound benefits add an additional $446 to the veteran’s monthly disability pay.

To file an A&A or housebound claim, the only form required for submission is VA Form 21-2680: Application for Housebound Status or Regular Aid & Attendance. This form is primarily filled out by the veteran’s doctor. The veteran is only required to complete the first section with their name and personal information.

Veterans not already receiving VA Disability Compensation (VADC) or VA Pension can apply for A&A or housebound status when they file their VADC or VA Pension claim.

Spouses in Need of Aid & Attendance

Veterans receiving VADC or VA Pension can receive additional monthly compensation if their spouse is in need of Aid & Attendance (A&A). The process for filing for A&A is essentially identical to the process when the veteran is the claimant. The only difference is the spouse’s doctor fills out the form indicating what activities of daily living the spouse is incapable of performing on their own.

Veterans receiving VADC with a spouse who qualifies for A&A will receive an additional $191.14 to their monthly disability pay.

VA Health Care for Veterans with Mesothelioma

Veterans entitled to VA Health Care simply need to fill out VA Form 10-10EZ and submit it to the Eligibility Department at the nearest VA Hospital.

Veterans meeting one of the following criteria are eligible for VA Health Care:

  • Service-connected with at least a 10% disability rating
  • Qualified for VA Pension, Aid & Attendance or receiving Medicaid
  • Former POW or Purple Heart recipient
  • Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, Ionizing Radiation, Burn Pits or Camp Lejeune water
  • Veterans with limited income

Eligibility for VA Health Care is broken down into eight categories, called priority groups. Veterans with service-related mesothelioma are awarded a 100% disability rating. This allows them to obtain VA Health Care with Priority 1 status, meaning they will have no copays and can obtain free prescriptions.

Veterans with non-service-related mesothelioma may qualify for VA Pension, allowing them to obtain VA Health Care with Priority 5 status.

The VA provides a list of all copay rates for all medical services and prescriptions here.

Once enrolled in VA Health Care, veterans with mesothelioma have three potential options when seeking treatment. The veteran may seek care at their local VA hospital, if there is a mesothelioma specialist on staff. However, few VA hospitals have specialists with the expertise required to treat this rare cancer.

If the local VA hospital is not equipped to treat mesothelioma, the veteran has two options:

  • The veteran can request the VA Hospital to provide a referral to a civilian mesothelioma specialist. If the referral is granted, the VA will pay for treatment provided by the referred civilian doctor.
  • The veteran can seek treatment at one of the VA hospitals with a mesothelioma treatment program. A referral by a VA doctor is not required; however, if the VA doctor provides a referral to another VA facility, the VA will be required to cover the travel expenses incurred by traveling to and from the other VA hospital.

Mesothelioma VA Benefits for Survivors

Surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who have passed away as a result of a mesothelioma diagnosis are entitled to several VA benefits, including compensation options, VA funded health insurance and burial benefits.

Loved Ones

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Mesothelioma

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is payable to the surviving spouse or dependent children of Veterans who have passed away from service-connected mesothelioma.

Spouses of Veterans who pass away after having been rated 100% disabled (by any disability) for at least 10 years qualify for DIC regardless of the cause of death.

If a Veteran has been awarded a 100% disability rating for their mesothelioma, then filing for DIC simply requires the eligible dependent to file VA Form 21P-534EZ and a death certificate showing the Veteran died from mesothelioma.

In cases where the Veteran never filed a VA Disability Compensation claim for their mesothelioma, spouses or dependent children must submit the following:

  • VA Form 21P-534EZ: Application for DIC
  • Copy of the Veteran’s DD-214
  • Copy of the marriage license or birth certificate (as applicable)
  • Copy of the death certificate showing mesothelioma was a cause of death
  • Asbestos exposure summary letter*
  • All medical records related to the Veteran’s mesothelioma diagnosis

*Note: this letter must not only convince the VA that the Veteran was exposed to asbestos in the military but must also convince the VA that the military asbestos exposure was more significant than the Veteran’s civilian occupational exposure.

Our VA-Accredited Claims Agent, retired LCDR Carl Jewett, has helped hundreds of Veterans and their spouses write VA asbestos exposure summary letters. Click below to obtain free help writing your exposure summary, and file your DIC claim.

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VA Survivors Pension for Mesothelioma

VA Survivors Pension is a monthly payment available to the surviving spouse and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits.

To be eligible for VA Survivors Pension, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be the unmarried surviving spouse or unmarried dependent child of a Veteran who has died.
  • The Veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged.
  • The Veteran must have served at least one day during a wartime period.
  • For Veterans entering active duty before September 7, 1980, the Veteran must have served for at least 90 days. Veterans entering active duty after that date must have served for 24 months.
  • Your annual income plus your net worth must be below $150,538.
  • Your income alone must be less than the applicable Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR).

To apply for the VA Survivors Pension, you will need to provide the VA with the following documents:

  • A completed and signed VA Form 21P-534EZ: Application for Survivors Pension
  • A copy of the Veteran's DD-214
  • A copy of the Veteran's death certificate
  • A copy of your marriage certificate (if you are the surviving spouse)
  • Proof of your income and net worth

VA Aid & Attendance for Survivors

A surviving spouse who qualifies for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) or Survivors Pension may receive additional monthly compensation through Aid & Attendence (A&) benefits. If the surviving spouse requires the assistance of another person to perform at least two activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, eating or managing medications and finances, they may be eligible for A&A.

Any spouse already in receipt of DIC or Survivor Pension can apply for A&A by submitting a VA Form 21-2680. This form is filled out by the patient’s doctor indicating which activities of daily living their patient can and cannot perform on their own.

A spouse can also file for A&A at the time they file a DIC or Survivor Pension claim. However, approval of the A&A is contingent on the spouse’s approval of DIC or the Survivors Pension benefit.

CHAMPVA for Dependents

CHAMPVA is a heath care program offered by the VA to eligible dependents. For the spouse or dependent child to be eligible, the veteran must have a total and permanent disability rating from the VA.

Surviving dependents can qualify for CHAMPVA if the veteran:

  • passed away from a service-related condition
  • died from a non-service-connected condition but was granted a permanent 100% disability rating for another disability before their death.

To file a claim for CHAMPVA, dependents must submit the following:

  • Copy of the veteran’s DD-214
  • VA Form 10-10d: Application for CHAMPVA benefits
  • VA Form 10-7959c: Other Health Insurance Certification
  • Copy of Medicare card (if applicable)
  • A VA rating confirming the veteran is/was in receipt of a permanent 100% disability rating
  • Birth certificate for dependent children

VA Burial Benefits for Mesothelioma

The VA offers burial benefits for veterans, which includes contributing to funeral costs or transporting the veteran’s remains.

If the veteran died from a service-connected disability, the VA will offer up to $2,000 for funeral or burial costs. The VA will also pay the costs associated with transporting the veteran’s remains from the place of death to the final resting place if the veteran is buried or interred at a national cemetery.

For veterans who were receiving VA Disability Compensation for a condition that did cause their death, or the veteran was receiving VA Pension, the VA will pay $300 towards burial and funeral costs. However, if the veteran was hospitalized at a VA facility at the time of death, the VA will pay $893 vice the $300 reimbursement.

To file a burial benefits claim, the following must be submitted to the VA:

  • VA Form 21-530EZ: Application for Burial Benefits
  • Copy of the veteran’s DD-214
  • Copy of the veteran’s death certificate
  • A receipt or invoice showing the costs associated with the funeral and burial, as well as transportation costs if the veteran is buried or interred in a national cemetery

Frequently Asked Questions About VA Claims for Mesothelioma

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What types of VA claims can I make for a mesothelioma diagnosis?

Veterans with mesothelioma can file one of two VA claims: Disability Compensation or Pension. Disability Compensation is for veterans primarily exposed to asbestos during their service. Pension is for veterans exposed mostly as a civilian. Other types of VA claims are:

  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
  • Survivors Pension
  • Housebound or Aid and Attendance
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What evidence or information do I need to get my VA claim approved?

The information you need depends on which VA claim applies to your mesothelioma case. If you’re filing for Disability Compensation, then you’ll need proof that at least half of your asbestos exposure instances occurred while on active duty. For a Pension claim, you’ll need to provide your income to determine your eligibility.

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How will compensation from a VA mesothelioma claim help me and my family?

VA compensation can help you and your family in a number of ways. Treatment for mesothelioma is expensive, often draining the bank accounts of victims. Monthly compensation from the VA can cover medical bills, travel costs to see a specialist, lost wages from being unable to work, and future funds for grandchildren.

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How do I file a VA claim for mesothelioma?

Filing a VA claim for mesothelioma is a meticulous process, often causing stress for veterans trying to handle it themselves. The best way to eliminate this strain is by asking for help from a VA claims agent. They dedicate their time — at no charge — to helping veterans get claims approved.

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Can I file a lawsuit in addition to filing a VA claim for mesothelioma?

Veterans can file both legal claims and VA claims for their mesothelioma. VA benefits and legal compensation, whether from lawsuits or asbestos trust funds, are not exclusive from one another. Additionally, your lawsuit is against the companies that produced and sold asbestos for massive profits, not the U.S. military or government.

Sources & Author

  1. About VA DIC for spouses, dependents, and parents. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/. Accessed: 09/25/2020.
  2. 2024 VA DIC rates for spouses and dependents. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/survivor-dic-rates/. Accessed: 12/08/2021.
  3. VA Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/. Accessed: 09/25/2020.
  4. 2024 Veterans disability compensation rates. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/. Accessed: 12/07/2021.
  5. Eligibility for Veterans Pension. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/. Accessed: 09/25/2020.
  6. VA Survivors Pension. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension/. Accessed: 09/25/2020.
  7. 2024 VA Survivors Pension Benefit Rates. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension-rates/. Accessed: 09/25/2020.
  8. 2024 VA pension rates for Veterans. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/veterans-pension-rates/. Accessed: 12/08/2021.
Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.