SGT. SHAFT: Veteran’s widow hasn’t received benefits for years

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The medallion is available only to veterans buried in private cemeteries without a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.

More information about the medallion or headstones and markers can be found at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmorder.asp. To download the VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion, go to http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330M.pdf.

• VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites. Nearly 4 million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict — from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan — are buried in VA’s national cemeteries on more than 19,000 acres.

Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone, grave marker or medallion.

Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the VA website at www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800/827-1000.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs is no longer charging veterans a copayment when they receive care in their homes from VA health professionals using video conferencing.

“Eliminating the copayment for this service will remove an unnecessary financial burden for veterans,” Mr. Shinseki said. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that veterans have access to the first-class care they have earned with their service to our nation.”

This change will primarily benefit veterans with limited mobility, such as spinal cord injury patients. Whenever medically appropriate, VA will make the home the preferred place of care for veterans to ensure timely and convenient access to VA services.

For more information about telehealth, visit: http://www.telehealth.va.gov/.

Data have shown that expanded use of technology in the home enables patients with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, chronic heart failure and hypertension, to live independently, actively engage in managing their health, and prevents avoidable hospitalization of patients who otherwise may need long-term institutional care.

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 email sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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