Veterans who served our nation often face chronic conditions after discharge. It is important to understand the support available to them and how to access it. This blog post will shed light on the benefits, eligibility criteria, and the process of securing VA benefits for cancer patients. Let’s explore the range of support available to veterans who have battled cancer and are now in remission.
Is cancer a disability?
Yes. Many types of cancer have been added to the VA’s list of presumptive conditions. And more research is being done to understand how cancer affects our veterans and service members. From exposure to hazardous chemicals such as Agent Orange to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, there is no shortage of service events that could increase the risk of cancer or aggravate an existing condition.
Types of exposure that can increase the risk of cancer include:
- Agent Orange exposure
- Radiation exposure
- Water contamination
- Burn pit exposure
- Exposure to asbestos and industrial solvents at military bases
The physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment can also lead to disabilities that qualify for benefits. Veterans diagnosed with cancer and experiencing residual impairment may be eligible for VA disability compensation.
VA Disability for Cancer in Remission
A cancer diagnosis is devastating. In addition to compromised organ function, cancer patients also suffer from anxiety or depression, nerve damage, and chronic pain. Because of this, cancer is often rated at 100 percent while active and during treatment.
The VA considers several factors when determining a veteran’s disability rating for cancer, including:
- The type of cancer
- The stage of the cancer
- The treatment that the veteran has received
- The impact on the veteran’s ability to work
So what is the VA disability rating for cancer in remission? The VA rates cancer on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 100% means that the veteran is disabled and unable to work. A rating of 0% means that the veteran has no disability.
The VA will then re-examine the patient six months to a year afterward. This is done to evaluate whether or not the cancer is still active and to adjust the rating.
Veterans who are in remission may still be eligible for benefits if their cancer or treatment has resulted in residual disabilities. The treatments can cause these, or the disability may stem from the disease’s emotional impact.
Some examples of residual disabilities include:
- Chronic pain
- Heart problems
- Lung problems after lung cancer
- Urinary incontinence from prostate cancer
Cancer can become a chronic illness and is not always a one-time event. Regardless of the type of cancer, veterans and their families should closely monitor and document ongoing treatment and potential residual disabilities.
VA Cancer Benefits
The VA provides various benefits and support services for veterans diagnosed with cancer. In addition to disability compensation, eligible veterans may also access the following VA benefits:
- The VA offers comprehensive healthcare services, including specialized cancer care, to veterans diagnosed with cancer. This includes access to state-of-the-art treatment facilities and medical professionals with expertise in oncology.
- The VA recognizes the emotional toll cancer can have on veterans and their families. They provide mental health counseling and support services to help veterans navigate the challenges associated with their cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- For veterans facing employment challenges due to cancer or related disabilities, the VA’s VR&E program offers assistance in finding suitable employment opportunities, job training, and rehabilitation services.
- Dependents and survivors may be eligible for certain benefits. These include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and education benefits through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program.
For accurate and current information on VA disability ratings for veterans in remission from cancer, we suggest referring to official sources. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website (www.va.gov) is a great resource. A veteran can also consult with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or an accredited attorney specializing in VA benefits.
Filing a Claim
To obtain VA disability benefits for cancer in remission, veterans must demonstrate a nexus or connection between their military service, cancer diagnosis, and subsequent disabilities. The disability claims process can be daunting. It is essential to gather evidence, including relevant treatment records and medical opinions, to support the claim.
For example, connecting pancreatic cancer and military service requires more than a diagnosis. The veteran will need a credible medical opinion linking military service to the development of pancreatic cancer. Residual disabilities will also require documentation to prove the connection and the disabling effect on the veteran’s daily life. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis, and the VA will consider all available evidence in determining eligibility for benefits.
Consulting with a qualified Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or an accredited attorney can be very helpful. They can guide veterans through the complex claims process. Additionally, they can make sure all necessary documentation is included. By gathering the necessary medical evidence and working with qualified professionals, veterans can navigate the claims process and access the healthcare, compensation, counseling, and support they deserve.
Maximize Your Cancer Benefits
If you were denied benefits or given an unfair rating, contact an experienced VA attorney. Don’t risk another denial. To speak with a specialist and review your options, set up a free consultation with the Cameron Firm, PC. Contact us today at (800) 861-7262 or complete the form below.