- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aloha,

My friend is a widow of a military medically retired, service-connected veteran. She has a Military ID with tricare, PX, and Commissary benefits and also receives SBP and DIC. She is 52 years old and has been widowed five years, but is thinking of remarrying next year.

What benefits will she lose by remarrying before age 57? I have told her that she will lose them all, but she still thinks she will keep her ID with health, PX, and Commissary benefits. Please help me here. — Mahalo, Connie G.

Dear Connie,

Tell your friend that she stands to lose everything. Her SBP and DIC would go into suspension; they can be restarted if the new marriage ends in death or divorce. If she waited until age 55, there would be no disruption in her SBP. If she waited until she’s 57, there would be no disruption in her DIC, either.

The ID card benefits will be lost upon remarriage at any age. That includes health care, Commissary, Exchange and MWR. If the remarriage ends in death or divorce, the commissary, exchange and MWR benefits can be restored. However, once health care benefits are lost, they will never be restored. It is very important that the widow understands this before she remarries.

Shaft notes

The Sarge urges the colleagues of Rep. John Hall and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both of New York, to support the two’s new effort to make tax credits permanent for businesses that hire recent veterans:

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which Rep. Hall and Sen. Gillibrand helped establish as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was signed into law in 2009, is set to expire at the end of this year, encourages businesses to hire recently-returned Iraq and Afghanistan troops in exchange for a 40 percent credit on the first $6,000 paid to a veteran. The veteran needs to be out of the service for no more than five years. Extending the credit would enable more returning veterans an opportunity to find work as the economy improves and help those businesses who’ve committed to hiring our recent veterans.

Prior to the announcement, Rep. Hall and Sen. Gillibrand were given a tour of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor by its director, Anita Pidala, and Mike Ali from the Military6 Order of the Purple Heart.

“More than 500 veterans here in New York have been hired already using the tax credit, which is due to expire at the end of this year, just as thousands of veterans are returning from Iraq,” said Rep. Hall. “Extending this tax credit is a critical step towards helping these veterans acclimate to civilian life.”

“Too many veterans are still coming home to a very bad job market and struggling to find work,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “They fulfilled their duty to our country, and now it’s time for us to fulfill our duty to them by making sure they have access to a good-paying job. The tax breaks we put in place are a win-win for businesses and veterans, and now we need to make them permanent so we can continue supporting businesses, create jobs, and put more of our veterans to work as they come home to their families so they can succeed in the economy.”

New estimates based on data from the New York State Department of Labor and the U.S. Census indicate that nearly 20 percent of veterans under the age of 30 are unemployed, and more than 7 percent of all veterans across New York State are unemployed. Nearly 8,000 New York veterans, including 870 in the Hudson Valley, under the age of 30 are unemployed. The Defense Department would also be required to issue information about the tax credit to exiting service members, and provide documentation to demonstrate their eligibility for the credit.

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The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation recently announced that it raised $25,000 at the 2010 Annual Innospec Fuel Specialties Golf tournament in Lone Tree, Colo., last month:

“We are fundamentally committed to supporting our nation’s heroes,” said Patrick Williams, president and chief executive officer of Innospec, a global specialty chemical manufacturer working worldwide. “Supporting the Military Heroes Fund is an important way we do our part to take care of America’s veterans.”

The tournament brought in $15,000 and generated an additional $5,000 in on-the-spot donations as well as a generous donation of $5,000 from U.S. Bank. All of the money raised will be used to support the PenFed Foundation’s Military Heroes Fund to help meet the unmet needs of wounded soldiers that cannot be met by the Department of Defense (DOD) or Veterans Affairs (VA).

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.