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Sgt. Shaft

Articles by Sgt. Shaft

SGT. SHAFT: Was ship in Vietnam exposed to Agent Orange?

Dear Sgt. Shaft: A friend of mine who recently passed from cancer was in Vietnam on the USS Hoel DDG 13. The ship had several missions in Vietnam, but it is not on the VA ships list. His daughter is trying to help get compensation for her mother. Can you help? Published December 11, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: What benefits are available to eight-year veteran?

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I am way out of touch with possible benefits after being honorably discharged in 1977; I actually enlisted in 1971 after serving in Camp Lejeune and also on the MSG program, serving at the American Embassy in London for some three years inclusive. Published December 4, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: TRICARE supplement plans are available for veterans

Dear Sgt. Shaft, I just learned that is it planned to remove TRICARE prime for retirees that live more than 40 miles from a military base and put us on TRICARE standard. Since this a 80/20 type payment, will there be any supplement plans offered to cover the 20 percent that isn't covered by TRICARE standard. Published November 27, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Woman wants to identify relative's dog tags from WWII

Dear Sgt. Shaft: Can you please help me determine if the dog tags I have are my grandfather's from World War II in the Navy, or my father's from Vietnam in the Army? Both men had the same name. The tags are more rectangular and notched. My other grandfather who was in the Navy in World War II has oval dog tags. Published November 20, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Disabled vet shouldn't have to pay for medicines

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I have a question for you: Why is it that the VA does not negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on a nationwide basis as opposed to regional negotiations? I am unable to get some meds for my service-connected disability because the VA won't come into the 21st century or negotiate on the national level. I am fortunate that my disability compensation currently covers the expense of buying the needed meds. It just seems wrong that I should have to pay for a service-connected disability to some degree. Published November 13, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Civilian population should have access to talking prescription system

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I know that you are very interested in the safety of visually impaired veterans when taking their prescriptions. You understand all too well the danger of not reading prescription labels and the possibility of making a tragic mistake. As you know, the ScripTalk Talking Prescription System is now installed in all VA Medical Centers in U.S. Published November 6, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Veteran's widow says her benefits are not complete

Dear Sgt. Shaft: My husband passed away on July 18, 2012, from several service-connected illnesses. While settling his affairs, going through his paper work and applying for widow's benefits, I was dismayed to find out that just because I might qualify for DIC (Dependent indemnity Compensation) payments that the SBP (Survivor Benefit Program) payments would be offset. Published October 29, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Does a veteran's ex-wife qualify for benefits?

Dear Sgt. Shaft, I was married to an Air Force officer for 22 years. During that time, he was either on active duty or in the California National Guard. I have been told that I qualify for some of my ex's military retirement benefit. Is this true? Published October 23, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Veteran seeks information about Agent Orange

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I need help and advice, I am three months in remission and have had chemo with Rituxan five times since my diagnose of ischemic heart disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 2001. I was not in Vietnam but in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1973 and the U.S. Air Force from 1973 to 1979. I was stationed at U.S. Army Fort Dix in N.J., U.S. Air Force Base Mather in California and Keesler AFB Biloxi in Miss. I have uncovered that these three military sites were exposed to Agent Orange as well as other chemicals. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Published October 16, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Relative wants to find owners of dog tags from WWII

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I currently have three dog tags that I would be willing to ship to the respective families if I could ever find them. They were stored with the WWII medals of my great uncle who passed, and I would venture to say that they must have been friends at some time. Published September 25, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: VA comes through for veteran, who can now pay off loan

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I had great news this week. The VA paid me retro back to July 2004. Amen! I want to thank you for everything. I am able to pay off my home equity loan. May God richly bless you. You will have many stars in your crown. Published September 18, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: What are the burial benefits for a vet's widow if they were separated?

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. Published September 11, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: What benefits are provided to bury widows of veterans?

It was about a year ago that you gave me a lot of help in navigating the murky waters of the VA regarding the Aid and Attendance program for my mom so I thought tap your brain again. Mom passed away Aug. 10 (to refresh your memory — she was an unmarried surviving widow of a veteran who died in service) and I have heard there may be some benefits regarding burial expenses available. Do you know where to start that inquiry? Published September 4, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Son of World War II veteran seeks help for his father

Dear Sgt. Shaft: My dad is a World War II veteran who served in the Navy. My dad had recently been admitted to a psychiatric floor in a local hospital. He has now returned home, but he is not the same. My brother and I live three hours away in New York, and my mother has Alzheimer's and cannot care for him. Are there any veteran benefits for this type of situation? Published August 28, 2012

SGT. SHAFT: Wife of veteran with Lou Gehrig's disease seeks benefits

Dear Sgt. Shaft: My name is Elisabeth. I am 30 years old and married to the man of my dreams. Unfortunately, my 29-year-old husband has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease), which is a service-connected terminal illness. He was diagnosed almost exactly one year ago today. Over the course of this year, I have watched him go from a vibrant, young man full of promise and life to a man barely able to walk, swallow or talk. Published August 21, 2012