For the children and spouses of mesothelioma victims, both the illness period and its aftermath are typically characterized by a myriad of powerful emotions-including fear, anger, guilt and regret. It is also common for the constant stress of the grieving and bereavement periods to be compounded by financial struggles and an overwhelming list of new responsibilities.
Losing a loved one is devastating enough. Families of asbestos cancer victims don’t deserve to suffer the logistics of their tragic loss too. This ongoing series is dedicated to providing information and guidance to the newly bereaved as well as those anticipating the loss of a loved one in the near future.
Over the course of the next month, we’ll feature articles covering topics including: legal rights of asbestos’ victims families, benefits available to asbestos-injured veterans’ dependents, making hospice and palliative care arrangements for a terminally ill loved one, providing support to a family member suffering from mesothelioma, coping with grief, types of bereavement and what to expect from each, helping the terminally ill draft advance directives and other final documents-and more.
Families of Meso Victims-PART EIGHT
Financial aid and other valuable benefits are available to the families of veterans’ mesothelioma victims, even after the affected individual has passed away. The following sections will give a brief overview of three primary resources for mesothelioma compensation and other types of financial help or living assistance.
VA Benefits for Spouses and Dependents
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides a special type of disability compensation and other benefits to the spouses and dependent children or parents of veterans injured during service. This includes those affected by veterans’ mesothelioma and their families. The VA’s Office of Survivors Assistance was established in 2008 as a source for all surviving dependents of injured vets to directly access to established resources and programs including:
- Survivors’ Pension
- Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance
- Burial Benefits and other Funeral Resources
- Home Loan Guaranties
- Bereavement Counseling
- Transition Assistance
Legal Rights to Compensation
Even after a loved one has passed away, family members are eligible to file a special type of mesothelioma claim called a wrongful death action. Damages may be awarded to a victim’s estate and can reach substantial monetary amounts, even reaching well into the millions. Statutes of limitations on wrongful death suits vary by state but typically range between one and three years after the date of a victim’s passing.
Assistance from VSOs
Non-governmental entities, called Veteran Services Organizations or VSOs, also offer various types of support and assistance to both victims of veterans’ mesothelioma and their eligible surviving family members. For instance, the American Legion provides financial aid and other services through their Family and Youth Support Center. Temporary Financial Assistance Grants and Educational Scholarships are available to minor children of vets; and the Family Support Network coordinates with local agencies or ‘Posts’ to help military families get the help they need fast, in addition to providing immediate funds when necessary.