- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dear Sgt Shaft:

If one marries a military retiree and he dies, does his spouse retain her military ID card privileges?

Chris M.
Via the Internet

Dear Chris:

Those in the know at the Military officers Association of America (MOAA) tell me that a widow retains all of her benefits following the death of her retired military spouse, even if they didn’t marry until after he was retired. The only benefit she loses when he dies is the ability to use Space A (Space Available) travel. However, if she should ever remarry, she will lose all benefits she once held, including SBP (Survivor Benefits Plan) if she is under age 55. If the remarriage ends in death or divorce, she may be able to get some of them restored, but can never have health care benefits restored.

Shaft notes

• The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced a change in regulations regarding payments for emergency care provided to eligible veterans in non-VA facilities.

“This provision helps ensure eligible veterans continue to get the emergency care they need when VA facilities are not available,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The new regulation extends VA’s authority to pay for emergency care provided to eligible veterans at non-VA facilities until the veterans can be safely transferred to a VA medical facility.
More than 100,000 veterans are estimated to be affected by the new rules, at a cost of about $44 million annually.

For more information about emergency care in non-VA facilities, visit www.nonvacare.va.gov.

• Registration is open for the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world. More than 500 veterans from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Great Britain are expected to compete in the Games, which will take place June 25-30, 2012, in Richmond, Va. — the site of the very first National Veterans Wheelchair Games held in 1981.

“The National Veterans Wheelchair Games are an outstanding event that showcases the abilities and determination of veterans,” Mr. Shinseki said. “VA is committed to providing world-class care to our wounded heroes.”

The Games, presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America, are open to all U.S. military veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments. The event will be co-hosted by the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center and the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“We’re thrilled to see the National Veterans Wheelchair Games return to Richmond after 31 years,” said Bill Lawson, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “Adaptive sports play a crucial role in getting people back into life after serious injury, and the Wheelchair Games are often a life-changing experience for our athletes, representing a unique combination of competition, rehabilitation and fun.”

The Games are made possible through the support of national host sponsors, Altria Group, Invacare and UPS.

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