- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My husband is buried at the RIverside National Cemetery. He died on April 25, 1987, and was interred May 12, 1987. What are the requirements for spouse burial? Due to his alcoholism and abuse, we were separated at the time of his death but not divorced. Thanks to his lack of financial support for his family and his alcoholic expenditures, retirement savings were impossible. I live on my Social Security and am concerned about final expenses.

Please advise.

Anne S.
Via the Internet

Dear Anne:

Surviving spouses are eligible for burial with their veteran husband or wife. Divorced spouses or spouses who had their marriage annulled are ineligible. The rules do not address separation, so since you were legally married to the veteran at the time of his death, you are indeed eligible for burial at a national cemetery.

Shaft notes

• The Sarge is looking forward to attending the 2012 Warrior-Family Symposium (WFS) where Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, will join Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki as distinguished speakers on Thursday.

This event, hosted by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) to honor wounded heroes and their families, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored to be a part of this year’s Warrior-Family Symposium,” Mr. Miller stated. “These men and women deserve our very best, as do their families, who are integral to the healing process of their loved ones. Each continues to sacrifice for our nation, and this annual symposium, led by MOAA, will highlight what we need to do to help them achieve the highest quality of life possible.”

Event registration is free to all active duty/reserve component service members and their spouses. This year’s WFS event will focus on the theme “Saluting Their Sacrifice: A Decade of Challenges and Triumphs for Our Wounded Heroes and Their Families.”

Event co-presenters MOAA and NDIA plan to provide a forum for expanding on the collective efforts of government and non-government organizations to improve the physical, psychological and overall well-being of wounded warriors and their families.

Two discussion panels will focus on issues of readjustment in the home, in the community, and in the workplace. Panels are

* “The Early Years — How Wounded Warrior-Families Are Doing Today”: Wounded heroes and their families and caregivers recount their diverse experiences, challenges and triumphs during their road from injury to recovery to transition and share their insights and a glimpse at how they are doing today. Moderated by Alex Quade, award-winning freelance war reporter.

* Fireside Chat: “Transitions & New Beginnings — Linking Alliances To Evolving Needs”; Active duty, separated and medically retired active duty service members and veterans and their families talk about their transition experiences in recent years, their expectations, and how they survived/thrived during the process.

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