Widow's benefits
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  1. #1

    Widow's benefits

    Hello,
    I'm new to this forum and thank goodness I found it. Here's my story. My husband was a member of the USMC and served in Vietnam in 1965/66. He was wounded, received a Purple Heart, and received a disability benefit while he was alive. He passed away in 1998 of a massive heart attack. The autopsy showed that he also had an enlarged heart, which the VFW office told me may have been a result ot Agent Orange used in Vietnam. I never knew that I was entitled to any of his disability benefits, and recently saw an article somewhere (Vet Press?) informing readers that indeed a widow may be entitled to benefits.

    What is the best way for me to get an answer to my question about receiving my deceased husband's disability benefit? And, what agency should I contact. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

    Dolores


  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Dolores View Post
    Hello,
    I'm new to this forum and thank goodness I found it. Here's my story. My husband was a member of the USMC and served in Vietnam in 1965/66. He was wounded, received a Purple Heart, and received a disability benefit while he was alive. He passed away in 1998 of a massive heart attack. The autopsy showed that he also had an enlarged heart, which the VFW office told me may have been a result ot Agent Orange used in Vietnam. I never knew that I was entitled to any of his disability benefits, and recently saw an article somewhere (Vet Press?) informing readers that indeed a widow may be entitled to benefits.

    What is the best way for me to get an answer to my question about receiving my deceased husband's disability benefit? And, what agency should I contact. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

    Dolores
    Hello Dolores,
    I was just reading your post, sorry for you loss. There is lots of people on this site that can help you. I'll start by giving you this web address. http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/dependents/index.htm this link is to a VA website for veterans spouses that have lost their warrior after his war was long over. As far as what I know, you should be getting at least some of his benefits as long as you have not remarried. There is tons of bureaucratic bull that comes with the VA and I most certainly do not work for the VA so this info is just what I have heard or read about threw my own experiences at the VA since I am rated 50% from my time in the Corps. I know you will find an answer here but if for some reason you don't you need to go to you Vet Service Rep at your VA or get into contact with the DAV (http://www.dav.org/). Best I can say is don't go it alone or you will be stuck in a trap for a very long time. Get a hold of someone at the VA or DAV to help you threw the process. Once again sorry for you loss. Keep returning to this post cause these things tend to start filling up quick with lots of good information.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Cpl. Butler, Emerson OIF Combat Veteran

    p.s. To avoid any delays you should fill out your profile on this site to reflect your current information. It would be much appreciated. Thanks again.


  3. #3
    Phantom Blooper
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    Military Widow: A Survival Guide by Joanne M. Steen and M. Regina Asaro Mission: To blend the personal experience of military widowhood with the professional knowledge of grief and traumatic loss, and translate over ten years of collective lessons learned from military widows into a survival guide for the new military widow. This soon-to-be-published survival guide for widows of service personnel, a first-of-its-kind, tackles the unique and complex issues arising from the death of a spouse in the military. It speaks to loss in each of the service branches, across the span of rank and rates, and offers invaluable insights and practical strategies for dealing with this life-altering tragedy. The authors expertly blend personal experience with guidance from leading experts on grief and traumatic loss, and translate over ten years of lessons learned into an effective guide. Short, easy-to-read chapters provide realistic profiles of widows and their responses to loss and the complications generated in the unique world of the military, as well as insight on how to make difficult decisions and cope with everyday situations. Although written primarily for the widow, this book will also prove useful to other family members, friends, and military professionals. Joanne Steen, MS, NCC, is the widow of a naval aviator who was killed in the line of duty. A Rutgers engineer, Joanne has twenty years of engineering experience in the corporate and military sectors. The sudden and traumatic death of her husband was personally and professionally life changing for her. Six years after her husbandís death, Joanne returned to graduate school and received a master of science degree in counseling, with an emphasis in sudden death and traumatic grief. Now a nationally certified counselor, Joanne is also a certified strategic planner, crisis responder, instructor, and speaker on military loss. For her work with the Department of the Navy, Joanne was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal. M. Regina Asaro, MS, RN, CT completed her nursing education over the course of eleven moves as a military wife. In 2003, she received her certification in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Regina has worked in-patient psychiatry at the National Institutes of Health and at Gorgas Army Hospital in Panama. She also served as director of crime victim assistance programs for victims of sexual assault and families of murder victims. As a crisis responder, Regina has worked on teams that responded to the bombing in Oklahoma City, the crash of Flight KAL801 on Guam, and in Tuzla, Bosnia, following the massacre of civilians in Srebrenica. She has presented many workshops on the impact of violent crime, grief, and traumatic loss. Customer Service , Naval Institute Press * 410-268-6110 / 800-233-8764 / customer@usni.org MILITARY WIDOW: A Survival Guide: ∑Is a first-of-its kind book that tackles the unique and complex issues arising from a military death. ∑Is written primarily for the military widow, but also serves as an essential resource for family and friends, and the military personnel who support her. ∑Provides practical strategies for surviving this life-changing loss. ∑Presents easy-to-access information, combining realistic profiles of military widows, knowledge of military loss and the complications it generates, guidance from leading grief experts, and lessons learned from military widows over the past ten years. Contents: Life And Death In The Military The Ultimate Sacrifice Who is the military widow? Military Grief Is Complex Your life experiences Your husbandís life and death The unique culture of the military When Your Husband Dies Suddenly Types of death: anticipated vs. sudden Myths about grief Common grief responses to losing your husband Grief work Am I going crazy? Thoughts of suicide Deployment-delayed grief Disenfranchised grief The Unplanned Trip Through Living Hell The military takes care of its own Dealing with the kids Dumb things people say God issues Inappropriate advances Identity theft Difficult Decisions What not to do with the SGLI Where to live What to do with your wedding bands What to do with the ďI love meĒ wall Everyday Coping Coping with significant dates Widow humor Staying healthy while grieving In-laws, ex-wives and stepchildren Dating again Growth after loss In case of emergency Appendix A: How You Can Help The Military Widow Appendix B: Resources Military Widow: A Survival Guide by Joanne M. Steen and M. Regina Asaro ISBN: 1-59114-835-9. Paperback. 208 pages. $19.95 Publication date: May 2006 Customer Service Naval Institute Press 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402 Direct: 410-268-6110 / Toll-free: 800-233-8764 www.NavalInstitute.org The book publishing arm of the U.S. Naval Institute since 1898, please visit online at www.NavalInstitute.org


  4. #4
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    Here is the link Dolores.
    It will answer all of your questions.
    Sorry for your loss.
    I will thank your husband for his Service and Sacrifices when I reach the Pearly Gates.
    God Bless and Good Luck.

    Semper Fi,
    Rocky

    http://www.va.gov/


  5. #5
    First, my sincere condolences for your loss. Second, please contact an accredited service officer for the American Legion, VFW, DAV, or some other service organization and let him / her assist you with your claim.
    VA pays two different types of benefit to widows of a wartime service veteran (you can only get one, not both):
    1.) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC for short).. is paid to the widow under the following circumstances: she is unremarried; and the veteran died of a service connected disability rated by the VA; or the veteran was rated at 100% service connected disabled for 10 or more years and died from any cause; or the veteran was rated at 100% for 8 years continuously from the last date of active service and died from any cause; or the veteran was a former POW and was rated 100% for one year.
    2.) The other benefit paid by VA is called Widow's Death Pension (Widow's Pension). Requirements are as follows: widow is unremarried, veteran had wartime service, widow must meet income and net worth requirements set by va regulation. This benefit is income dependent, and the amount of the benefit is reduced on a dollar for dollar basis based on the widow's gross income from all sources. Out of pocket medical expenses are used to reduce income for VA purposes in order to compute the amount of benefit paid.
    VA regulations have recently added Ischemic Heart Disease to the list of agent orange related diseases. I suggest that you contact your husband's last physician and attempt to obtain a letter from him stating that Ischemic Heart Disease was as likely as not a causative factor in his death. Submit said letter with your claim for benefits, and it will improve your chances of winning a DIC claim substantially. Good Luck.


  6. #6
    First off I want to express my condolences for your loss.

    There has been some really good information passed on here. Please, as mentioned already, get assistance with this through a veteran organization. They are accustomed to dealing with the government in these case and they will help you along the way. They may even be willing to gather all your information as well as your husbands information and process all the paperwork themselves.

    Good Luck


  7. #7
    A Veterans Affairs Office would be a good place to start. You can find one in most cities.


  8. #8
    More Vietnam Veterans & Their Widows Eligible for Agent Orange Benefits
    October 14, 2009

    The Veterans Affairs Office extended Agent Orange benefits to more veterans. The VA established three additional service-connections for Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

    The illnesses affected by the recent decision are B cell leukemia’s’, such as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson’s disease; and ischemic heart disease.

    Used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy, Agent Orange left a legacy of suffering and disability that continues to the present. Between January 1965 and April 1970, an estimated 2.6 million military personnel who served in Vietnam were potentially exposed to sprayed Agent Orange.

    In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed” illness don’t have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

    For more information about the new “presumptive diseases”, you need to contact your local county Veterans Service Officer.

    In Stearns County, the St. Cloud Office number is 320-656-6176 and the Melrose office number is 320-256-1435.



    http://www.co.stearns.mn.us/625_7491.htm


  9. #9
    http://www4.va.gov/survivors/

    Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
    Eligibility: For a survivor to be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the veteranís death must have resulted from one of the following causes:

    1.A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training.
    2.An injury, heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training.
    3.A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.
    DIC also may be paid to certain survivors of veterans who were totally disabled from service-connected conditions at the time of death, even though their service-connected disabilities did not cause their deaths. The survivor qualifies if the veteran was:

    1.Continuously rated totally disabled for a period of 10 years immediately preceding death; or
    2.Continuously rated totally disabled from the date of military discharge and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death ;or
    3.A former POW who died after Sept. 30, 1999, and who was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of at least one year immediately preceding death.
    Payments will be offset by any amount received from judicial proceedings brought on by the veteranís death. The veteranís discharge must have been under conditions other than dishonorable.

    10, 2009


  10. #10
    Best wishes Delores, theres plenty of good info here. Keep us posted on how things are going. Our sincere condolences for your loss.

    Semper Fi and Merry Christmas.


  11. #11
    Thank you all very, very much for your replies. They were a big help! I forgot to mention that I volunteer at the local VA Medical Center and after calling several agencies and not getting much help, I asked around at the VA Medical Center, and some dear person led me to the Veteran's Benefits Office! There I talked to someone who helped me enormously, and even gave me all the forms to fill out. When I asked who I should mail the forms to he said to just bring it back to him and he would take care of everything! Can you believe it?! I was thrilled beyond belief!

    Thanks again for all your help, and I'll let you know what happens.

    I am also going to post a poem my husband wrote when he was in Vietnam. It's humorous, although you wouldn't think there could be much humor in Vietnam at the time. It's called Green, and it will give you a good laugh, I'm sure. Until then. .

    Dolores

    Still missing my Gene -(1946-1998) USMC


  12. #12
    My husband served in the Marine Corp. & was also deployed to Somalia. He finished his service. Last year he died suddenly leaving me with 2 children. ages 10 & 3. My youngest has Down Syndrome & will need special care. We did get the Marine Honor Guard at his service & the head stone. I need to now if me & my children are eligible for any benefits. We are living on social security. I am most interested in health care & education benefits. He did not die from service related problems. I was told that because he didn't die while actively in the Marines that we get nothing. I am hoping this is not the case. I don't know which way to turn & hope that there is something that can help us.
    Thank you


  13. #13
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    Sorry for your loss Kristin.

    This should help. Please click the link

    http://www.va.gov/opa/persona/dependent_survivor.asp


  14. #14
    Sorry for your loss, since you do not say where you are located, I can only direct you to your local County Service Officer of the State Department of Veteran's Affairs....you will find them listed in the phone book under the "state government" listings... if you have trouble finding the listing, you can call the VA direct at 1(800)827-1000 from anywhere in the US and get some information, as well as direction to your State VA if there is one....


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