10 Facts related to Veterans Benefits

1 (one) million Vietnam Veterans will turn 65 years old this year.  
Source: New York Times health blog “the Long and Unacceptable wait for a Veterans’ Benefit” May 15, 2013 by Susan Seliger
There are 2 VA Medical Centers in Middle Tennessee;  3400 Lebanon Pike, Murfreesboro, Tennessee (615-867-6000) and 1310 24th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee (615-327-4751).  There are a total of four VA Medical Centers state wide including Memphis and Mountain Home.
3 year look back regarding transfer of assets is being considered by Congress as proposed legislation introduced to decrease the alleged “abuse” of the pension program. For more information see Veterans Pension Protection Act at www.wyden.senate.gov
4 primary benefit programs;
·       Disability Compensation for Service-Connected Disabilities,
·       Non-Service Connected Disability Pensions; includes “Basic”, “Homebound”, and Aid & Attendance”
·       Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Service-Connected Deaths (DIC)
·       Death Pension to Surviving Spouse.
5 eligibility criteria for basic Non-Service Connected Disability Pension benefit:
·       90 days active duty service
·       1 day of wartime service, (not necessarily combat nor overseas service)
·       Disability or age 65 or older
·       Honorable discharge (any discharge other than dishonorable)
·       Meet income and resource guidelines
6 hundred thousand, (600,000) disability claims backlogged in the VA system waiting determination. VA attributes some of this back log to “pension poachers”, creating more claims than the system can handle.  
Source: New York Times health blog titled VA Warns Aging Veterans against Pension Poachers by Susan Seliger May 23, 2103.
7 hundred dollars. Under certain circumstances the VA will pay a burial and funeral allowance of $700.00. If a veteran’s death is service-connected, the VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000.00
8 to 18 months, in general, is the time it takes to hear back form the VA after applying (for benefits), according to  Debbie Burak who founded VeteranAid.org. a nonprofit group that helps Veterans.   
Source: New York Times health blog “VA Warns Aging Veterans against Pension Poachers”, by Susan Seliger May 23, 2103.
9 specific infectious diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War on August 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and on or after September 19, 2001, in Afghanistan. The nine diseases are:
·       Brucellosis
·       Campylobacter jejuni
·       Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
·       Malaria
·       Mycobacterium tuberculosis
·       Nontyphoid Salmonella
·       Shigella
·       Viseral leishmaniasis and
·       West Nile virus
The 10 page basic application for compensation or pension, including instructions for completion, is over whelming for many elders.  Many seek out assistance in this process. The V. A. guidelines prohibits payment for assistance with the application process. Additionally, the V. A. requires  individuals assisting claimants with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits be accredited.
Unless otherwise specified the reference for the above information is the book, “What Every Veteran Should Know”, 75th Edition. This book is published annually by Veterans Information Service and can be ordered at www.vetsinfoservice.com
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