A lung cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, particularly for veterans who bravely served our nation. But you’re not alone. The VA offers disability benefits to compensate veterans whose conditions stem from their military service. This comprehensive guide helps you understand your eligibility, the PACT Act’s impact, and the steps to secure the benefits you deserve.
Does lung cancer qualify for disability?
Lung cancer itself qualifies for disability under the VA rating scheme. Whether you served in Vietnam and faced Agent Orange exposure or in post-9/11 conflicts with potential burn pit exposure, proving the service connection can vary.
The PACT Act streamlines things for veterans who served in designated areas after September 11, 2001. If your deployment locations and dates fall within the Act’s criteria, proving exposure to burn pits through the PACT Act is often sufficient for claim approval. This means less evidence-gathering and faster access to crucial benefits.
For veterans outside the PACT Act’s scope, demonstrating the service connection requires evidence linking your lung cancer to your time in uniform.
This could include:
- In-service medical records: Showing a lung condition diagnosed during your service.
- Documentation of exposure: Military records or statements detailing exposure to toxins like Agent Orange or harsh environments like burn pits.
What is the VA disability rating for lung cancer?
The VA rates lung cancer disability based on its severity, ranging from 0% to 100%.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Active cancer: Veterans with active lung cancer typically receive a 100% disability rating for six months after treatment or remission. Following that, a re-evaluation determines the ongoing rating.
- Residual symptoms: If you experience lingering difficulties like shortness of breath, coughing, or fatigue, you may be eligible for a lower disability rating based on the severity of these residuals.
- Permanent residuals: Lung damage, heart disease, or other permanent consequences of lung cancer can qualify for a higher disability rating. However, these residuals require separate applications and evaluations.
Regardless of the stage of your lung cancer, you are eligible for VA disability benefits. Additionally, your family may be entitled to death benefits if your service-connected lung cancer proves fatal.
How to get VA disability benefits for lung cancer
You can apply for VA benefits through the standard claims process. However, the PACT Act simplifies things for covered illnesses:
- Gather your documents: Prepare your DD 214 proving service location and dates, as well as current medical records confirming your lung cancer diagnosis.
- Submit your claim: Electronically or by mail, you can initiate your claim with the VA.
- Be prepared for a C&P exam: The VA may schedule a Compensation & Pension exam to assess your disability level.
If your claim is initially denied, don’t lose hope. You have the right to appeal, and legal assistance can significantly improve your chances of success.
Don’t go it alone: Contact the Cameron Firm, PC today!
Veterans with lung cancer deserve the best possible care and support. The Cameron Firm, PC, stands alongside you in this journey.
Our experienced VA disability attorneys can:
- Guide you through the claims process, ensuring all paperwork and evidence are properly presented.
- Advocate for your rights and represent you before the VA if necessary.
- Help you understand and navigate the appeals process if your claim is initially denied.
Remember, you’re not alone. Contact the Cameron Firm, PC, at (800) 861-7262 today for a free consultation. We’re here to help you secure the benefits you earned through your selfless service.
Let us fight for the benefits you deserve. Together, we can turn hope into reality.