Asbestos Exposure and VA Benefits – What’s Out There?

A topic that was just brought to our attention was Navy Veterans that were exposed to Asbestos and who decades later are diagnosed with Cancer, to include Mesothelioma.  For decades, the DOD used Asbestos in many things, and Service Members were exposed, even with documentation that states that the DOD knew the risks to exposure.

Many work fields in the military were exposed to Asbestos, to include:

  • mining
  • milling
  • shipyard work
  • insulation work
  • demolition of old buildings
  • carpentry and construction,
  • the manufacturing and installation of products such as:
    • flooring
    • roofing
    • cement sheet
    • pipe products
    • servicing of friction products such as clutch facings and brake linings.

Also,  some have the misconception that only older era Veterans were exposed to Asbestos, but that is not the case.  OIF/OEF/Global War on Terror Veterans could have been exposed to Asbestos when older buildings were damaged and the contaminant was released into the air.

A Veteran that was exposed to Asbestos and has developed cancers associated with it can apply for disability compensation to obtain a VA Disability Rating and access to VA Health Care at little to no cost.

Eligibility Requirements for Disability Compensation:

  • You must be a Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
  • You must have been exposed to asbestos while in military service
  • You must have a disease or disability related to the asbestos exposure that occurred in military service

Evidence Requirements:

  • The evidence must show asbestos exposure while in military service. This may include your military occupation specialty and/or where you were stationed.
  • The evidence must show you have a disease or disability related to asbestos and a relationship exists between the exposure to asbestos in military service and the disease/disability.
  • You must claim a disease or disability. Exposure, in and of itself, is not a condition that is subject to service connection.

Points Where the VA Will Push Back On:

  • The VA will want additional proof that you were not exposed to Asbestos in any other way outside of your military service – if the VA can find another way a Veteran was exposed, they will use it to deny the claim.

If you are the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran who died from cancer from asbestos exposure, you can also apply for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation based on the same evidence.

Also, many Veterans and family members have consulted lawyers that specialize in Mesothelioma and Asbestos exposure in order to file a lawsuit for their exposure.  If you feel you may be eligible for a lawsuit, please seek out a lawyer that specifically practices on cases for Mesothelioma and Asbestos-related diseases and conditions.

 

Links for more information:

If you have any topic that we have not covered, please message us through our FaceBook page, and we will be more than happy to find answers.  If you think you may be the only one dealing with an issue involving what’s out there for any conditions for Veterans, you are probably not alone, and you can help us get content together to post for everyone in the Veteran Community to find.

 

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Vermont State Veterans Benefits

Today, we bring you the State Veterans Benefits for Vermont.  The information was gathered from the Vermont Veteran Services Directory, maintained by the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.

Emergency Financial Assistance and Financial Support to Vermont Veterans and Their Families

  • Veterans and their families who are having a hard time with basic life necessities such as food, shelter, utilities, etc., should contact Vermont 211.
  • This program has an inventory of all the federal, state, and local resources available to Vermonters. This includes local food shelves, state assistance programs, local private organizations, etc.
  • They are available 24 hours a day, every day. Just dial 2-1-1 from any phone in Vermont to get connected.
  • Who Should I Contact Next?
    • After 211, veterans should visit their local Agency of Human Services’ Economic Services Division. The folks in this division administer programs that can provide emergency funds, food, and heating assistance.
    • They are an especially important contact for families with children. We recommend you follow the link below to find the local office that is closest to you.
  • Vermont Veteran Assistance Fund
    • This program can provide a one-time payment to Vermont veterans or their families who are in a financial crisis and need help paying for a critical need, such as housing and utilities.
    • The amount of assistance provided is up to $200.
    • Applications are done over the phone and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Vermont residency is required.
  • Office of Veterans Affairs Toll Free (for in State) (888) 666-9844
  • Office of Veterans Affairs Direct Dial (802) 828-3379

Financial Assistance Programs for Military Families

  • Vermont National Guard’s family support section administers several funds to help families who are in financial hardship, especially families in financial hardship because of a deployment.
  • Their programs are not limited to only the guard, as they assist active duty and reserve families as well.
  • Vermont National Guard Family Support (888) 607-8773
  • There are some resources from private organizations that are available to help veterans and their families.
    • Friends of Veterans
      • Friends of Veterans provides veterans in Vermont and New Hampshire with financial assistance.
      • They are especially interested in helping veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness.
      • http://www.friendsofveteransvtnh.org/

Vermont’s Medals for Veterans

  • Vermont has three medals that recognize those who served who have a connection with our state. They are:
    • The Vermont Veterans Medal is awarded to most veterans with an honorable discharge.
    • The Vermont Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to veterans who received an honorable discharge and who served in a combat theater.
    • The Patriots Medal is presented to the next-of-kin of Vermont soldiers killed in action.
  • Distribution of the Veterans Medal and Distinguished Service Medal is not automatic. Veterans must apply for them, or have someone apply on their behalf.
  • Applications are quick and easy… most can be completed over the phone by calling the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
  • Applicants can choose to receive the medals in the mail, or they can choose to participate in an annual medal presentation ceremony at the Vermont State House, with medals delivered by the Governor.
  • The family members of deceased veterans may also receive the medals.

High School Diplomas for Veterans

  • Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War era, or the Vietnam War Era can also receive a high school diploma if they have never received one.
  • Applicants can choose to receive their diploma from any Vermont public school.
  • Applications can be made over the phone to the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
  • After the Office of Veterans Affairs verifies eligibility, it passes the application along to the appropriate high school, who will make presentation arrangements with the applicant.

License Plates for Veterans

  • Veterans can display a Veterans License Plate on their vehicle. The plates are available for standard cars and trucks. Verification of service is done by the Office of Veterans Affairs.
  • There are multiple ways to apply. If you are registering your vehicle in person at the Montpelier Department of Motor Vehicles, the Office of Veterans Affairs can verify your eligibility in person, as they are located next door to the DMV.
  • If you’re not coming to Montpelier to register your vehicle, call the Office of Veterans Affairs to apply. Their staff can mail the application to you. You will need to provide a DD-214 as proof of service to the Office of Veterans Affairs for the plate you want for your vehicle.
  • Keep in mind, you can apply for a Veterans License Plate at any time. You don’t have to wait until you reregister your vehicle.
  • In addition to the Veterans Plate, the DMV has a selection of different veteran related plates, including
    • Purple Heart Plate
    • Former Prisoner of War Plate
    • Pearl Harbor Survivor Plate
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars
    • Vietnam Veterans of America.
    • Applications for the plates are made directly with the DMV.
  • Veterans in Vermont can get a VETERAN designation on their Driver’s License

Memorial Day Ceremony

  • Each year the state has a Memorial Day observance ceremony at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 30th at 3:00 p.m.
  • Contact the Office of Veterans Affairs for information about the ceremony.

Veterans Day Parade

  • Each year the state provides the Boy Scouts of America funds to organize the state’s Veterans Day Parade.
  • The parade is held the first Saturday of November, and the location changes from year to year
  • Contact the Boy Scouts of America for information about the parade.

Armed Services Scholarship

  • The Armed Services Scholarship is a State of Vermont program for the spouse and children of military members who died on active duty since 2001, or the spouse and children of Vermont National Guard members who have died while serving at any time.
  • The scholarship can be used towards the completion of an Veteran Services Directory Maintained by the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs undergraduate degree at a Vermont school.
  • For Vermont state schools, the scholarship covers the full tuition
  • For Vermont private schools, the scholarship reduces the tuition.
  • If the deceased was a member of the Vermont National Guard, applications are processed by the guard’s education office. All others apply to the Veteran Services Director at the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs

Property Tax Reduction for Veterans

  • The following are eligible for the exemption:
    • Veterans receiving Disability Compensation at a rating of 50% or higher Veterans receiving Non-Service Connected Pension (also called Improved Pension)
    • Veterans collecting military retirement pay for a medical military retirement
    • Surviving spouses of veterans who had received the exemption (surviving spouses may also be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or Death Pension)
    • The exemption level varies from town to town.  State law mandates a minimum $10,000 exemption, although towns are given the option of increasing the exemption to $40,000.
    • The exemption reduces the appraised value of the home prior to the assessment of taxes. For example: An eligible veteran lives in a home valued at $200,000. The veteran’s town provides a $20,000 exemption. The veteran’s home will be taxed at $180,000. Veterans who would like to have their town increase their exemption must go through their town’s local procedures for having a measure placed on an election ballot for town voters to consider.
    • The exemption only applies to homes that are owned by the veteran or survivor. Veterans or survivors who rent their homes can not pass this exemption on to their landlord.
    • To receive the exemption, the veteran must provide proof of eligibility to the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
    • Most veterans will have to provide proof of eligibility every year before May 1st.
    • Veterans who are determined to be totally and permanently disabled only have to provide proof of eligibility the first year they use the benefit for a home (if they move to a new home in a different town, they will have to provide proof of eligibility again). They also must provide proof of eligibility by May 1st.
    • Proof of eligibility is provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our recommendation is to call the VA no later than April 1st to request this documentation.

As always, if there are any benefits we may have missed, please let us know, and we will add it to the list.

 

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