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12-20-02, 08:11 AM
Subject: RAO Bulletin Update: Presidential Memorial Certificate, VA
Compensation Rate Tables 2003, CHAMPVA Update, VA Insurance Dividend
2003, VA Disability Claim - Reasons to File, & Embassy Closures in RP

Presidential Memorial Certificate: A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans who have not been convicted of a capital crime. This program was initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy and has been continued by all subsequent Presidents. Statutory authority for the program is Section 112, Title 38, of the United States Code. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the PMC program by preparing the certificates which bear the President’s signature expressing the country’s grateful recognition of the veteran’s service in the United States Armed Forces. Eligible recipients include the deceased veteran’s next of kin and loved ones. More than one certificate may be provided. Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply for a PMC in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail only. Requests cannot be sent via email. All requests must be in writing. There is no form to use when requesting a PMC however, a copy of the veteran's discharge and death certificate must be included with the request. These documents will not be returned. You can Fax your request and supporting documents to (202) 565-8054 or mail it to: Presidential Memorial Certificates (402E12), National Cemetery Administration, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20420-0001. If you have any questions about a certificate you have received, a request you have already sent in, or about the program in general, you may call (202) 565-4964 or email PMC@mail.va.gov. [Source: www.cem.va.gov/pmc.htm 11 DEC 02]

VA Compensation Rate Tables 2003:
Basic Disability Rates - 10%-100% Combined Degree Only (Veteran Only Rates)
Monthly Rating & Percentage Benefit
10% $104 ~ 20% $201 ~ 30% $310 ~40% $445 ~ 50% $633 ~ 60% $801 ~70% $1,008 ~80% $1,171
90% $1,317 ~100% $2,128
Additional amounts payable for spouses, children and parents to veterans with ratings of more than 30%
Dependency And Indemnity Compensation [DIC] For Surviving Spouses

Veteran’s Death Was On or After 1 January 1993: Basic Monthly Rate = $948
Additional Allowances:
~ Add $204 if at the time of the veteran’s death, the veteran was in receipt of or entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability rated totally disabling (including a rating based on individual unemployability) for a continuous period of at least 8 years immediately preceding death AND the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for those same 8 years (Combined amount $1,152)
~ Add $237 per child allowance for each dependent child under age 18
~ Add $113 if the surviving spouse is entitled to Housebound

Veteran’s Death Was Before 1 January 1993
E-1 through E-6 $948 ~ E-7 980 ~ E-8 1,035 ~ E-9 $1,080
W-1 $1,001 ~ W-2 1,042 ~W-3 1,072 ~ W-4 $1,134
O-1 $1,001 ~ O-2 1,035 ~O-3 1,107 ~ O-4 1,171 ~ O-5 1,289 ~ O-6 1,453 ~O-7 1,570 ~O-8 1,722 O-9 1,843 ~ O-10 $2,021
Additional Allowances:
~ Add $204 if at the time of the veteran’s death, the veteran was in receipt of or entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability rated totally disabling (including a rating based on individual unemployability) for a continuous period of at least 8 years immediately preceding death AND the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for those same 8 years
~ Add $237 per child allowance for each dependent child under age 18
~ Add $113 if the surviving spouse is entitled to Housebound

To inquire concerning the status of compensation, DIC, pension, burial, accrued, clothing allowance, automobile, specially adapted housing, or Spina Bifida claim or to ask any general Compensation & Pension (C&P) benefit question, call the VA toll-free number 1-800-827-1000 [Source: NAUS Update for 27 November 2002]

CHAMPVA: Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs [CHAMPVA] is the VA version of Tricare Standard. The VA shares with eligible beneficiaries the cost of covered health care services and supplies. Due to the similarity between CHAMPVA [administered by the VA] and CHAMPUS [administered by DoD] the two programs are easily and often mistaken for each other. Only the CHAMPVA Center, PO BOX 65023, Denver CO 80206-5023 is authorized to process applications, determine eligibility, authorize benefits, and process claims. Veterans can speak to a benefits counselor from 09-1330 and from 1430-1700 EST at [800] 733-8387
The VA Outpatient Clinic, Manila is now authorized to provide medical care to CHAMPVA eligible beneficiaries on an outpatient basis. However, this care must be administered at the clinic and will not be provided through the Fee-Basis Care Program. The benefit of obtaining care from the clinic is that the cost to the patient will be limited to travel only. The VA will absorb the cost of pharmaceuticals and medical care If you have any questions contact the VA Clinic Coordinator at (02) 833-4566 to 69 EXT 201.
Eligibility - Those eligible for CHAMPVA benefits, providing they are not eligible for CHAMPUS or Medicare Part A as a result of reaching the age of 65 are:
- the spouse or child of a veteran who has been rated by a VA regional office as having permanent and total service-connected disability.
- The surviving spouse or child of a veteran who died as a result of a VA rated service-connected condition(s); or who at the time of death, was rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected condition(s),
- The surviving spouse or child of a person who died in the line of duty and not due to misconduct within 30 days of entry into active military service.
- Surviving spouses who remarry after age 55. There is a 1-year open season from date of enactment of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2002 for
otherwise eligible spouses to apply for benefits. Effective date is 60 days after enactment of Act.

Note: Survivors of USAFFEE, Guerillas and New Scouts are not eligible for CHAMPVA. Survivors of Filipinos with US service are eligible for CHAMPVA under the exact same criteria that applies to survivors of any other veteran!

Individuals 65 or older, who lose CHAMPVA eligibility by becoming potentially eligible for Medicare Part A or who qualify for Medicare Part A benefits on the basis of disability, may re-establish CHAMPVA eligibility by submitting documentation from SSA certifying their non-entitlement to or exhaustion of Medicare Part A benefits.
Application - Applicants for CHAMPVA must submit a completed "Application for Medical Benefits for Dependents or survivors - CHAMPVA [VA Form 10-10d.]. Upon receipt by the Center it will take approximately 60 days to gather the supporting records necessary to verify eligibility and make notification to the applicant. The Center will also verify the applicant's eligibility status with the local VA Regional Office that has the sponsor's VA claims folder. To ensure there is no CHAMPUS entitlement, these records will also be verified through DEERS. [Source: CHAMPVA Handbook Jun 95 & Veterans Benefit Act of 2002]

VA Insurance Dividend 2003: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its distribution of more than $568 million in dividends to 1.5 million active policyholders of veterans life insurance. Over the next year, veterans will receive the payments on the anniversary date of their policies, with the specific dividend amount varying according to age, type of insurance and length of time the policy has been in force. Recipients will automatically receive their annual dividend through one of the nine payment options they have selected in advance.
For current active-duty servicemembers and reservists covered by Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, no dividend is paid. Dividends cover only veterans with government life insurance policies who served between 1917 and 1956. Veterans of subsequent eras are covered by government insurance programs that do not pay dividends. Only those with policies that have been kept in force when premiums were required are eligible for the payout.
Inaccurate stories periodically surface suggesting that those who have not maintained insurance are eligible for a special distribution if they contact VA, but this is false. Dividends are automatically sent to eligible policyholders. The largest group receiving 2003 payments will be 1.3 million veterans of World War II with National Service Life Insurance (“V”) policies. Total payments are expected to reach $461.5 million. Dividends totaling $2.2 million will be paid to the 12,499 veterans holding U.S. Government Life Insurance (“K”) policies. Some 206,367 veterans who have maintained Veterans Special Life Insurance (“RS” and “W”) policies can expect to receive dividends totaling $88 million.
Veterans who hold Veterans Reopened Insurance (“J”, “JR” and “JS”) policies, currently numbering 57,048, will share a $17.2 million dividend. Although VA also administers a special life insurance program for disabled veterans and a program offering mortgage life insurance coverage, neither pays dividends. Veterans who have questions about their policy may call the VA Insurance number: 1-800-669-8477, or can send their e-mail to: VAinsurance@vba.va.gov <mailto:VAinsurance@vba.va.gov>. [Source: VA News Release dtd 10 DEC 02]


12-20-02, 08:14 AM
VA Disability Claim - Reasons to File: It is most important that a veteran file a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs to service connect those disabilities, diseases, or injuries or residuals thereof, which were incurred in or aggravated by military service. Compensation is payable to any veteran with a service connected disability rated (10) percent or more, provided that his/her service was under conditions other than dishonorable. Although there is no time limit for filing a VA claim, it should be done at the time of separation or as soon thereafter as possible. Following are some of the reasons a veteran should file a VA compensation claim:

1. Compensation is payable to a veteran for service-connected disabilities rated from 10% to 100%, with additional amounts for statutory awards or certain multiple disabilities plus additional amounts for dependents when a veteran is rated 30% or more.
2. VA compensation is not subject to Federal or State taxes.
3. Many states have special programs and benefits for veterans with service-connected disabilities.
4. Filing a disability claim establishes a VA file, which will help expedite other claims and applications, which may be filed at a later date.
5. VA will consider a rating for all disabilities diagnosed and treated during military service, when such disabilities are included within the claim.
6. If a service-connected disability worsens, VA will reconsider the rating upon receipt of medical evidence showing an increase in severity.
7. Certain chronic and tropical diseases have presumptive periods ranging from 1 to 40 years. Service- connection may be granted if diagnosed within the proper period and rated to a compensable degree of at least 10%.
8. If service-connected disabilities rated at 60% or above and unemployable, the veteran may be rated 100% by VA.
9. If a veteran is hospitalized for 21 days or more or undergoes major surgery for service-connected disabilities, he/she is entitled to a temporary 100% rating during the period of hospitalization and/or convalescence.
10. Certain severely disability conditions, e.g., blindness, paraplegia, loss of limbs, carry special VA ratings and payments.
11.VA pays an annual clothing allowance to veterans whose prosthetic devices or service-connected disabilities tend to wear or tear their clothing.
12. A service-connected disability rating provides preference points for State and Federal employment under certain conditions.
13. Retirees with service-connected disabilities may waive the monetary amount of VA compensation from military retired pay for federal income tax purposes.
14. Educational benefits are available to the spouse and other dependents (to include dependent parents) of a veteran who dies as the result of a service-connected disability, regardless of the rating percentage.
15. DIC and Educational benefits are payable to eligible survivors of veterans rated totally disabled by VA from service-connected disabilities continuously for ten years preceding death, or rated totally disabled on retirement and for the following five years, regardless of the cause of the veteran’s death.
16. A veteran with a service-connected disability is eligible for a maximum of $10,000 of National Service Life Insurance (RH). A totally disabled veteran is eligible for a maximum of $20,000 of National Service Life Insurance (RH).
17. Premiums for NSLI may be waived by VA Insurance Center if the veteran is considered totally disabled and
this condition has existed six months or more prior to the 65th birthday.
18. Veterans rated 10% or more service-connected and in need of training may apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Training (Chapter 31).
19. Outpatient dental care is authorized for veterans rated 100% service-connected, including those rated 100% due to unemployability.
20. Veterans (not retired military which are eligible for full ID card benefits) rated 100% service-connected and their dependents are eligible for military ID cards (commissary and exchange privileges). Dependents may also be eligible for CHAMPVA benefits.
21. Payment of burial benefits up to $2,000 if a veteran dies from service-connected disability; or up to $600 if the veteran was in receipt of VA compensation at the time of death and death is rated as non-service connected.
22. Filing a claim and establishing service-connected disabilities provide advantages in obtaining medical care at VA expense. These advantages include:

a. Instant proof of eligibility for medical care, thereby expediting the receipt of treatment.
b. Establishes eligibility for treatment of nonservice-connected disabilities on a space-available basis at VA hospitals and clinics.
c. If rated 50% or more for service-connected disabilities, may be treated for all nonservice-connected disabilities.
d. Retirees may use both VA and military medical facilities for care.
e. The VA may pay for emergency hospitalization in private facilities for service-connected disabilities if VA facilities are not available. The VA medical facility of jurisdiction should be notified within 72 hours of admission to the private facility.
f. The VA may pay for outpatient medical treatment from private doctors for any service-connected disability, and for all disabilities if the veteran is rated 50% or more for service-connected disabilities, if the veteran resides outside a certain miles radius, which is determined by the nearest VA medical facility.
g. The VA furnishes free of charge medicines required for treatment of service-connected disabilities, and for all disabilities if the veteran is rated 50% or more for service-connected disabilities.
h. Prosthetic appliances and services are available at VA expense for eligible veterans.
i. Medical care is provided for any condition while a Veteran is enrolled in Vocational Rehabilitation Training (Chapter 31).
[Source: Military Service Coalition Newsletter NOV 02]

Embassy Closures in RP [Temporary]:
Canada The Canadian Embassy in Manila has been closed to the public on a temporary basis since 28 NOV 02 but continues to provide most services. The reason was, “… to protect Canadian and Filipino staff from a serious, specific and credible threat”. During the closure the Visa section will be unable to process visitor and immigrant visa applications. Applicants in this geographic region should submit their requests to the visa offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo.
Australia The Australian Embassy in Manila has been closed since 28 NOV 02 for security reasons. Immigrant visa acceptance has been temporarily suspended. For tourist visas a courier service has been arranged to pick and deliver applications during the closure. Applicants in the Philippines should call 1-909-362-2779 for additional information. [Source: Whats On Expat 8-14 DEC 02]

Lt. James "EMO" Tichacek, USN (Ret)
Director, Retiree Affairs Office & U.S. Embassy Warden Baguio City RP
Email: raoemo@mozcom.com (PRI) or raobaguio@hotmail.com (Alternate)
PSC 517 Box RCB, FPO AP 96517 Tel: (63-74) 442-7135 or FAX 1-801-760-2430