- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I know how busy you are, but maybe you can help me with this question. I am retired from the military and was drawing 40 percent from Veterans Affairs for many years. I asked to be re-evaluated, and my disability was increased to 70 percent. Should I have been given retroactive pay for the period that I submitted my claim and it was approved until I started receiving my increase with concurrent receipt from either the military or the VA?

Thanks for your time, and you should be commended for the outstanding service you provide.

F.D.T.

Retired military

via the Internet

Dear F.D.T.:

The VA gurus tell me that if the increase was after Jan. 1, 2004, the date of the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments provision, you would be entitled to retroactive payments. I am not sure from your question whether you are asking about concurrent receipt or VA compensation. Either way, you would be entitled to retroactive pay. Concurrent receipt is paid by the military and is phased in.

Shaft notes

c The Sarge joins the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in applauding efforts to add $1.7 billion for veterans health care and services as part of the $100 billion military supplemental spending bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Including this much-needed additional money for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the emergency funding measure is an acknowledgment that caring for our nation’s veterans is part of the continuing cost of war,” said DAV National Commander Bradley S. Barton.

Mr. Barton noted that the supplemental bill is still in the draft stage, but he urged lawmakers to ensure that the additional money for the VA remains in the final version that goes to the president for signature.

“We as a nation owe these brave men and women all we can give them to make sure that their life and sacrifice are not ignored or undervalued,” he said. “But given the strains already placed on the VA, I am concerned about our veterans’ ability to get quality health care and benefits in a timely manner. If our government continues to underfund VA programs, it will fail to honor America’s commitment to our sick and disabled veterans.”

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has named five U.S. legislators, a film, television and theater actor, a U.S. company and two congressional staff members as recipients of its highest awards for 2007.

Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat; Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican; Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican; Rep. Chet Edwards, Texas Democrat; Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican; actor Gary Sinise; the DuPont Co.; and staffers John Chapla and John Conger were selected by MOAA’s board of directors to receive the annual awards.

The awards will be presented April 17 at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

• Government administrators and representatives from 20-plus nations will join hands July 27 on the Mall in Washington to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.

Norbert Refiner of the Korean War Veterans Armistice Day Committee said South Korean Ambassador Lee Tae-sik and representatives of the Veterans Affairs Department and the D.C. government will address the public gathering. A keynote speaker is to be named.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Gerald Kuhn, a Korean veteran, will give the invocation, and a representative from the Archdiocese for the Military Services will give the benediction. Embassy personnel from nations participating in the Korean War will attend the hourlong ceremony, which also will honor “missing in action” service personnel.

The commemorative tradition will continue with an afternoon memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jack Cloman, chairman of the 2007 Korean War Gathering, said the Holiday Inn in Gaithersburg will host festivities during the schedule of veterans activities July 24 to 28. Registration at the hotel will begin at 1 p.m. on July 24.

• Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail [email protected]bavf.org.

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