- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I want to marry a woman who is currently receiving a widow’s pension. At one point in time she had a document that said she could remarry at age 55, but lately we have been reading that the age is 57. As would be expected we cannot find that document now. Which is it? Was it originally 55 and later changed? If so, is there a grandfather clause? Please advise.

Sincerely,
Lawrence A.
USA Retired

Dear Lawrence:

The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2003 allows for surviving spouses who remarry after the age of 57 to continue to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Remarriage after age 55 has never been an entitlement criteria.

Shaft notes

• The Sarge joins the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in praising Congressman Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, and Congressman Tim Bishop, New York Democrat, who recently introduced the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2011 (H.R. 3086). The bill would phase out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which allows employers holding special wage certificates to pay their workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage.

Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act is a long-overdue effort to correct an injustice written into a law meant to protect all American workers from abuse and exploitation. Workers with disabilities were excluded from the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act because of the false belief that we cannot be as productive as Americans without disabilities. Courage and creativity are required to replace the misguided benevolence that has historically shaped policies toward people with disabilities with real opportunity for our equal employment and full participation in the workplace. We applaud Representatives Stearns and Bishop and we hope that a significant majority of their colleagues possess the courage and creativity to end over 70 years of exploitation of people with disabilities.”

Mr. Steams agreed with Dr. Maurer.

“Simple fairness and decency require that workers with disabilities receive equal pay for equal work,” Mr. Stearns says. “I am asking all of my colleagues to join me in this historic effort to end wage discrimination against workers with disabilities once and for all.”

Mr. Bishop also agreed, saying: “Ensuring that Americans with disabilities receive equal pay for equal work is more than a matter of basic fairness, it’s a long-overdue acknowledgement of the value disabled Americans contribute to our workplaces every day. I hope all of my colleagues will support this bipartisan effort to correct over 70 years of injustice.”

For more information about the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act and the National Federation of the Blind, please visit www.nfb.org.

• The House Committee on Veterans‘ Affairs recently announced two new members to its roster with the addition of Reps. Mark Amodei, Nevada Republican, and Bob Turner, New York Republican, both veterans of the U.S. Army.

“I am pleased that Rep. Amodei and Rep. Turner have joined the committee to represent America’s veterans,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans‘ Affairs. “As veterans themselves, I know they will be advocates for the best care and programs and will provide the committee with valuable insight based on their experiences in uniform.”

Mr. Amodei was a prosecutor for the Judge Advocate General Corps in the Army, handling criminal matters from 1984-1987.

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