If you were in the U.S. military and received a lung cancer diagnosis during or after your service, you might be eligible for disability benefits. Lung cancer has several known risk factors, including exposure to radiation, asbestos, and Agent Orange. You can win veterans (VA) disability for lung cancer by demonstrating that your military service caused your lung cancer.
A veterans advocate at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help. Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.
How do I get a grant of VA benefits?
Generally, an approval for VA disability benefits requires three things:
- An in-service event, injury, or illness;
- A current diagnosis by a medical professional;
- A medical nexus, or link, between your in-service event, injury, or illness and your current diagnosis.
The VA disability attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can examine your medical and service records and build the strongest case on your behalf. We can gather evidence that connects your lung cancer diagnosis to your military service and prepare a compelling legal argument for the VA.
Once we apply for disability benefits for your lung cancer, the VA reviews your case. It issues a grant or denial based on whether the evidence proves your health condition is service-related.
How do I connect my lung cancer diagnosis to my military service?
The most important part of our job is to connect your lung cancer diagnosis to your military service. This is the only way we can win VA disability benefits on your behalf. The VA is very strict and requires evidence that your diagnosis is service-related. There are several ways we can go about proving this:
Presumptive Service Connection
If you have certain qualifying service, we could win benefits based on presumptive service connection. For instance, if you served in a radiation-risk activity area and later developed lung cancer, the VA must grant service connection.
If you served in any of the following places, you have presumptive radiation exposure:
- On the grounds of a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky; Portsmouth, Ohio; or Oak Ridge, Tennessee, prior to February 1992.
- On Amchitka Island, Alaska, prior to January 1974.
- During an operational period at any nuclear testing site.
If you served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975; in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between April 1, 1968 and May 7, 1975; or in Thailand as a military dog handler or military police between 1962 and 1975 the VA must grant service connection on a presumptive basis for certain medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans who served in Thailand with other military occupational specialties may also be eligible for service connection, however they must demonstrate that they were exposed to herbicides.
This list is not exhaustive, so if you feel you might have been exposed to one of the risk factors for lung cancer in another area of the world, talk to a VA disability attorney at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD. We can scour your military records and determine when and where you might have been exposed. From there, we can gather evidence to bolster your case with the VA.
How much can I receive in VA disability benefits for lung cancer?
Assuming you are granted benefits, the VA rates your disability from 0 to 100 percent. Your disability rating determines the amount you receive in monthly benefits.
VA Disability Compensation Levels
As of 2017, the VA issues benefits in the following amounts based on your disability rating:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $133.57 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $264.02 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $408.97 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $589.12 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $838.64 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,062.27 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,338.71 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,556.13 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $1,748.71 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $2,915.55 per month
A disability rating of 30 percent or above qualifies you for additional benefits if you have dependents (e.g., spouse, children, or dependent parents).
Special Cancer Provision
The VA has a special provision for service-connected cancer patients in its disability rating system. If you have an active cancer diagnosis that is service-connected, you automatically qualify for a 100 percent disability rating. You receive benefits at the highest monthly amount while your cancer is active and you are receiving treatment.
When you complete treatment and your cancer goes into remission, you continue receiving benefits at the 100 percent level for an additional six months. Then, the VA requires you to undergo a medical examination to evaluate your current condition.
Do I need a lawyer to pursue VA disability benefits for lung cancer?
Although you are free to seek VA disability benefits on your own, our team can be a big help. The VA’s laws are complex and nuanced, and winning a claim is not always a simple, cut-and-dry process. Many veterans receive a denial on their first attempt to receive benefits, despite having a documented medical condition and a seemingly strong case.
Our attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD have many years of experience seeking VA disability benefits on behalf of our clients. We will handle the process from beginning to end and pursue your case aggressively. Do not risk leaving money on the table because you lacked competent and aggressive legal representation.
We offer free consultations, so call us today at 401-331-6300 to go over the details of your case.