Widow(er)’s SSA benefits update: Normally, when a veteran dies the surviving spouse, starting at age 60 [50 if handicapped], is entitled to collect full monthly social security benefits based on the veterans’ SSA account. This is true only if the widow(er) is not drawing another pension based on his/her prior employment (such as schoolteacher or postal worker) with an employer that had its own retirement plan under which there was no deduction for social security. However, if the widow(er) receives anything from that pension, regardless of the amount, his/her entitlement based on the veterans SSA account will be reduced by two thirds. [Source: RAO Social Security Inquiry 22 Oct 2012]
VA Pension Program: VA’s pension program provides monthly benefit payments to certain wartime Veterans with financial need, and their survivors. The information is accessible in the attachment to this Bulletin title, “VBA Pension Program” or via VBA’s website link at www.vba.va.gov/VBA/docs/PensionProgramInfo_final.pdf. [Source: VA Secy Vet Group Liaison Officer Kevin Sector 22 Oct 2012]
Vet benefits (federal): In addition to the pensions and benefits to which you may be entitled because of both public and private employment, you may also be eligible for certain benefits based on your military service.
The following is a summary of veteran’s benefits and what you need to know about them:
• Major Veteran Benefit Programs - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html#1
• PTSD Support - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html#PTSD
• Important Documents http: www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html#2
• Eligibility - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html#3
• Application - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html#4
• Related Links - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html#5
Major Veteran Benefit Programs. The Department of Veterans Administration operates a number of programs providing financial, medical and other assistance to veterans.
For Americans who received an honorable or general discharge, there are four major benefit programs:
• Disability compensation - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veteran-disability-compensation.html
• Veteran’s pension programs - www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-pensions.html
• Free or low-cost medical care through VA hospitals and medical facilities - www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/veterans-health-care-overview.html
• Education Programs - www.military.com/education/gi-bill/learn-to-use-your-gi-bill.html
There are also benefit programs concerning:
• Housing and Home Loan Guarantees.
• Job Training.
• Small Businesses and business loans (Through Small Business Administration).
• Burials and Memorials.
• Franchise Opportunities (Vet Fran).
• PTSD Support - National Center for PTSD website.
PTSD Support: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that occurs after a life-threatening event, such as personal assault, natural disaster, or military combat. It is common for service members to deal with post-combat depression, insomnia, nightmares and family issues; however, it’s the duration and intensity that differentiates PTSD. Each military branch has programs for its service members, and the Department of Veterans Affairs offers free counseling sessions. For more information on PTSD or VA assistance, go to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder website www.ptsd.va.gov.
Important Documents: If you are applying for a VA benefit for the first time you must submit a copy of your service discharge form (DD-214, DD-215, or for WWII veterans, a WD form), which documents your service dates and type of discharge, or give your full name, military service number, branch and dates of service. Your service discharge form should be kept in a safe location accessible to the veteran and next of kin or designated representative. Your preference regarding burial in a national cemetery and use of a headstone provided by VA should be documented and kept with this information. The following documents will be needed for claims processing related to a veteran’s death: (1) veteran’s marriage certificate for claims of a surviving spouse or children; (2) veteran’s death certificate if the veteran did not die in a VA health care facility; (3) children’s birth certificates or adoption papers to determine children’s benefits; (4) veteran’s birth certificate to determine parents’ benefits.
VA Benefits Eligibility: Eligibility for most VA benefits is based on discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Current and former members of the Selected Reserve: You may be eligible for certain benefits, such as home loan guarantees and education, if you meet the time-in-service and other criteria.
Honorable and general discharges qualify a veteran for most VA benefits. Dishonorable and bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits. VA regional offices can clarify the eligibility of prisoners, parolees and individuals with multiple discharges issued under differing conditions.
Application: Veterans and their family members who wish to contact the Department regarding a claim, benefits, or services, may fill out question forms on the website (www.va.gov), or call VA toll-free at 800-827-1000 or at 800-827-4833, (TDD Telecommunication Device for the Deaf.) (Source: Military.com Oct 2012]
Flags: The American Legion Post 70 has on hand American flags, all of the military service flags, POW/MIA flags, and S.C. State flags. Contact a member of Post 70 to purchase flags; the cost is $5.
American Legion Post 70: Meeting at 1800 on the third Tuesday of the month. For more information, please contact Thomas Crisp at 940-2793.
American Legion Post 24, of Newberry, meeting is on the second Tuesday of the month at 1830. The American Legion Auxiliary – unit 24 meet the same day at 3 p.m. at Post 24.