During their time in the military, some servicemembers may have been exposed to harmful or carcinogenic substances. If you are now living with cancer as a result of this exposure, you may be entitled to receive disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The unfortunate truth of chemical and toxic exposure claims is that many qualifying applicants are initially denied, even those suffering from cancer which is clearly linked to military service. Without the guidance of an experienced attorney, former servicemembers in every state risk missing out on the compensation they are entitled to. Talk to an attorney at our firm about veterans’ cancer claims right away to protect your entitlement to disability compensation.
There have been many instances over the years where servicemembers were exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. In some cases, this exposure happened over decades, whereas in others, it was limited in either duration or location. The important thing is that any cancer which results from a person’s active duty military service could warrant disability benefits from the VA.
Veterans who served during the Vietnam War were frequently exposed to Agent Orange. Specifically, veterans who served between 1962 and 1975 in and around Vietnam are at an increased risk of exposure to this chemical, which has since been linked to lung cancer, leukemia, soft-tissue sarcoma, multiple myeloma, and several other cancers. The VA presumes that former servicemembers who are diagnosed with certain cancers after serving in Vietnam are living with a service-connected disability.
Not all service-connected cancer is the result of a specific war or military operation. In many cases, contaminated groundwater on military bases has been linked to certain cancer diagnoses among former active-duty servicemembers. Toxins and chemicals on bases like and Camp Lejeune have contaminated the groundwater, resulting in exposure to carcinogens through bathing in or drinking the water near the base.
Radiation exposure has long been linked to certain types of cancer in veterans and can often be attributed to nuclear testing or gaseous diffusion plants. Exposure to radiation can lead to colon, liver, and pancreatic cancer, among other conditions.
Large burn pits are commonly used on military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq and are used to destroy a wide range of substances, including medical waste, ammunition, chemicals, weapons, and even human waste. Exposure to the smoke from these burn pits is linked to varying types of lung, bladder, and brain cancer in former servicemembers.
The VA uses a disability rating system to determine the amount of benefits a veteran is entitled to. When VA doctors review a former servicemember’s health, the Regional Office will assign a rating between 0 and 100 percent for each condition. This rating is based on the severity of the impairment, with 0 percent resulting in no monetary benefits, and a 100 percent rating leading to the maximum allowable compensation each month.
A disability rating of at least 30 percent could result in additional benefits if the veteran has dependents. In some circumstances, these dependents may include spouses, children, or even dependent parents. These benefits would be awarded in addition to the veteran’s compensation for a cancer disability rating.
If you believe you are entitled to VA benefits following a cancer diagnosis, do not hesitate to move forward with your disability claim. This compensation could help you make ends meet when your disability prevents you from maintaining employment.
The process of obtaining VA disability benefits can be challenging. Consult with a lawyer right away to get started on your veterans’ cancer claim.