Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a severe health condition that impacts a person’s daily life and is among the 10 most common cancers. Symptoms often include decreased kidney function, lower back pain, fatigue, and weight loss. This disease often does not show signs or symptoms in its early stages, and because of this, patients usually attribute the symptoms to other causes.
Genetic and lifestyle factors increase the risk of developing this illness, and environmental factors, such as workplace exposure to chemicals. As a veteran, you wonder whether or not you can claim kidney cancer with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In this article, we will explore the eligibility requirements and procedures for claiming kidney cancer with the VA and the potential benefits veterans can receive if their claims are approved.
To claim kidney cancer with the VA, veterans must first meet specific eligibility requirements. These include:
- Eligible Discharge Status – Veterans must not have been dishonorably discharged.
- Exposure to Certain Risk Factors – Veterans must have been exposed to certain risk factors that increase the risk of kidney cancer. These can include exposure to solvents like trichloroethylene, used on military bases in tank and aircraft maintenance.
- Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer – Veterans must have a kidney cancer diagnosis from a qualified medical professional.
- Disability and Service Connection – Veterans must be able to demonstrate that their cancer is currently disabling and that it is related to their military service.
Veterans who meet these eligibility requirements may be able to claim kidney cancer with the VA and receive benefits to help with their medical care and other expenses.
Steps for Claiming Kidney Cancer with the VA
The procedures for claiming kidney cancer with the VA can be complex and time-consuming, so it is important to be prepared and to have all of the necessary documentation and evidence to support the disability claims. Here are the steps that veterans should follow when filing a claim for kidney cancer with the VA:
- Gather Medical Records and Documentation. Veterans should gather all their medical evidence and documentation related to their kidney cancer diagnosis, including test results, imaging studies, and biopsy reports. They should also gather any military records that may be relevant, such as records of their service and exposure to risk factors.
- Submit a Claim for Disability Compensation. Veterans can submit a claim for disability compensation through the VA’s online portal, by mail, or by visiting a VA regional office. The claim should include all of the relevant medical and military documentation and a description of the veteran’s symptoms and how they impact their daily life.
- Attend a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam. After the claim has been submitted, veterans may be asked to attend a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam, a medical exam conducted by a VA healthcare provider or contracted healthcare provider. The exam aims to evaluate the veteran’s current medical condition and determine if it is related to their military service or exposure to risk factors.
- Wait for a Decision – After the C&P exam, the VA will review all of the medical and military evidence and decide the veteran’s claim. If the claim is approved, the veteran will receive a VA disability rating for kidney cancer, determining the compensation they are eligible to receive.
Kidney Cancer As A Presumptive Condition
One of the biggest challenges in VA disability claims is obtaining a service connection. Fortunately, if you are a Gulf War era or post 9/11 veteran, kidney cancer is on the PACT Act presumptive illnesses list. You need only provide proof of service during specified time periods and locations.
Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, North Carolina, might also be eligible to claim kidney cancer as a presumptive illness. The VA disability rating for kidney cancer that is malignant is 100%.
Can Agent Orange Cause Kidney Cancer?
Agent Orange was widely used in Southeast Asia as an herbicide during the Vietnam War era. Because of this, many Vietnam Veterans suffer from cancers related to the kidney or other organ. Since then, research has proven a relationship between many types of cancer and Agent Orange exposure. There is some evidence linking the herbicide with kidney disease, but research has not proven enough of a link to add the disease to the presumptive illness list.
To claim a service connection between Agent Orange and kidney cancer, a veteran must obtain documentation from a medical professional stating that the disease and exposure are linked. A veteran may also opt to claim kidney cancer as a secondary condition to a service-connected illness.
Benefits of Claiming Kidney Cancer with the VA
If a veteran can successfully claim kidney cancer with the VA, they are eligible for a range of benefits to help with medical care and other expenses. These can include:
- Disability Compensation – Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation, a tax-free payment made to veterans with a service-connected disability. The amount of compensation is based on the severity of the disability and the veteran’s disability rating.
- Healthcare Benefits – Veterans approved for disability compensation also receive healthcare at any VA medical center. Dialysis care is available for all veterans who suffer from chronic kidney disease regardless of service connection. But mileage reimbursement for travel for treatment is covered if the condition is service-connected.
- Kidney Transplants – In addition to transplant services, eligible veterans can receive temporary lodging when undergoing extensive procedures.
- Home Dialysis – If the Veteran cannot access a dialysis treatment center, they may be eligible for Home Dialysis benefits. Candidates receive training, medical equipment and supplies, and support to perform home treatments.
- Geriatric and Extended Care – Aging and chronically ill veterans can receive long-term care such as domiciliary care and hospice services.
Visit the VA kidney disease benefits page for the complete list of benefits.
Are You Getting the Benefits You Deserve?
If you are working on an appeal for a kidney cancer claim, it’s best to contact an experienced VA attorney or expert in veterans law. To maximize your Kidney Cancer disability benefits, set up a free consultation with the Cameron Firm, PC. Contact us today by calling 1-800-861-7262 or filling out the contact box on our website. We are here to represent veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.