- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My father worked for the British army for 5 years from 1941 and served in Egypt, Rangoon and Malaysia.

My mother is 85 years old and lives with me. Since I am nearing retiring age, I will find it difficult to sustain her medical bills in the near future.

Therefore, can you let me know whether she is eligible for a pension and how can I get about appealing for same.

Thank you,
Via the Internet

Dear Evelyn:

I suggest you contact the British Embassy for advice, or visit this U.K. website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/international/ that contains advice about pensions and health care for British nationals living abroad.

Shaft notes

• Kudos to Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for the introduction of complementary legislation to the Veteran Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433) to help curb rising veteran unemployment. The Tax Credit to Hire Veterans Act of 2011 (H.R. 2443) would provide a tax credit to be applied toward capital equipment purchases to small businesses that hire unemployed veterans.

“When I became chairman, I pledged to take a comprehensive approach to reducing veterans’ unemployment. I firmly believe that approach must include incentives for small businesses to invest in hiring veterans,” Mr. Miller said. “This unique approach not only employs veterans, but also incentivizes small businesses to purchase capital equipment creating even more jobs for all Americans. I am confident that with the partner legislation I have introduced today, we can bring veteran unemployment below 5 percent in the next two years.”

The tax credit provides small businesses, including veteran-owned businesses, the option to grow their companies, while also hiring a jobless veteran. Several protections within the legislation ensure that veterans will be hired for the right reasons and prevent abuse.

“We all agree that the tax code must be simplified. Thousands of regulations hinder small businesses, the engine of our economy, from prospering,” Mr. Miller said. “Coupled with broader efforts to keep taxes and regulations on small businesses to a minimum, this credit will incentivize job creators and provide our veterans with meaningful employment.” A legislative hearing on the VOW Act will be held at 10 a.m. July 15, 2011, at Room 334 in the Cannon House Office Building.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has embarked on a major initiative to reach out to women veterans in order to solicit their input on ways to enhance the health care services VA provides to women veterans.

“We are taking a proactive approach to enhancing VA health care for women veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We are seeking the input of women veterans so that VA can continue to provide high quality health care to the growing numbers of women veterans.”

Representatives at VA’s Health Resource Center (HRC) are placing calls to women veterans nationwide, asking them to share their experiences with VA and suggest potential enhancements that will further VA’s mission to provide the best care anywhere.

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