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Sgt. Shaft

Articles by Sgt. Shaft

SGT. SHAFT: Surviving spouses of vets can remarry after 57 and continue benefits

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I want to marry a woman who is currently receiving a widow's pension. At one point in time she had a document that said she could remarry at age 55, but lately we have been reading that the age is 57. As would be expected we cannot find that document now. Which is it? Was it originally 55 and later changed? If so, is there a grandfather clause? Published October 18, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Vet wants to prove he served in Vietnam

Dear Sgt Shaft: My name is Ron, I'm an Air Force vet. I served from 1968 to 1972, and I was stationed in the Philippines for 15 months. I was a C-130 crew chief and was sent to Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam for 55 days at a time, I did four of these tours. I'm 61 now and have heart disease, I had a heart attack at age 40. I have sent for my records, and there's nothing in there about Vietnam. Published October 4, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Is a veteran's adopted son who is disabled eligible for benefits?

Dear Sgt Shaft: I have a question regarding my younger brother. He is 33 years old and has been mentally and physically handicapped since birth. My parents adopted him when he was an infant/toddler. My father was retired from the North Carolina National Guard after 30 years of service. He passed away from metastatic colon cancer in 2007. We have been told that my younger brother is eligible for VA benefits. I have called multiple organizations and seem to get nowhere and now don't know where to turn for a definite answer. Published September 27, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Vet's wife seeks question about Survivor Benefit Plan

Dear Sgt. Shaft: In one of your recent articles, "Mary K." stated that "Twelve years into his retirement, he was granted a 40 percent service-connected disability ... a portion of his retirement pay is now called disability pay, Apparently he did not qualify for additional monies, just a "renaming" of his retired pay." Published September 20, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Sometimes disabled vets lose out in divorce settlements

Dear Sgt Shaft: Your recent article on the legality of attachment of VA Service-Connected Disability Compensation to divorce settlements is misleading and, in practical terms, false. Although federal regulations supposedly prevent such attachment, the reality is that the federal government does not interfere or involve itself with the issue of attaching commingled income and assets in divorce settlements in the state and local court jurisdictions. Published September 6, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Veteran's spouse asks about husband's retirement benefits

Dear Sgt. Shaft: My husband retired after 22 years of active service. At the time of retirement he elected to participate in the survivors benefit program and has paid the monthly premiums continuously since retirement in 1989. Twelve years into his retirement he was granted a 40 percent service connected disability ... a portion of his retirement pay is now called disability pay, apparently he did not quality for additional monies, just a "renaming" of his retired pay. If he should die what effect does all of this have on my survivor benefits? Published August 30, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Do foreign vets have any VA benefits in the U.S.?

Dear Sgt Shaft: I was trying to track down some information concerning the question posed in one of your letters about the person that worked or served in the British Armed Forces. I know that we have a reciprocal agreement with Canada, and I am almost certain we have something similar with Great Britain. I believe the Veterans Assistance Service supervised these efforts as part of their Foreign Benefits Program. I am not sure who does this now. I am trying to track it down. Published August 23, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Does divorced vet have to pay former spouse any disability payments?

Dear Sgt Shaft: I am in the middle of a divorce after 18 years of marriage. I receive service-connected disability from the VA from when I was in the Army. I am now 100 percent disabled and unable to work. My wife has been working full time for the same company for the last 16 years. In the divorce, she is asking to receive half of my disability payments for maintenance. Is there any federal law that states my disability cannot be used for maintenance? Published August 9, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Marine mom makes the grade, thanks to GI Bill

Dear Sgt Shaft: I just wanted to drop you a quick hello. Hope all is going well. I am finally on my three weeks off of school. The semester went well. I received A's in all my classes. Not to mention, I made the Dean's List with a 3.94 GPA! Once again thanks again for all your help in getting my GI Bill squared away. Published August 2, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Dog tag tracked to deceased veteran

Dear Sgt. Shaft: In a previous column, Detective Douglas Scheller of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department wrote that he had been asked to try to locate a person whose dog tag was found. Published July 19, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Is British vet's spouse eligible for a pension?

Dear Sgt. Shaft: My father worked for the British army for 5 years from 1941 and served in Egypt, Rangoon and Malaysia. My mother is 85 years old and lives with me. Since I am nearing retiring age, I will find it difficult to sustain her medical bills in the near future. Therefore, can you let me know whether she is eligible for a pension and how can I get about appealing for same. Published July 12, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Was Agent Orange the cause of vet's death?

Dear Sgt. Shaft: My husband recently passed away. He was in the U.S. Air Force and was in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967 for over a year and half. He started out with diabetes, then went to heart problems and died from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). He served in Vietnam when Agent Orange was sprayed. They say they don't know the cause of IPF, but I truly believe that it was from Agent Orange. Who should I contact about this? Published July 5, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Widow questions how vet caught hepatitis C

Dear Sgt. Shaft: I want to know why the military did not send out information to all Vietnam-era veterans asking them to get checked for hepatitis C. The military obviously had all those soldiers’ Social Security numbers, and a check with the IRS would have given them current addresses for notification purposes. Had my husband known that he had hepatitis C much earlier, he would have lived his life more carefully. For example, he would have avoided all alcohol and would have gone to a hepatitis specialist to start Interferon before he was at liver failure. Published June 28, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Military dog tags have varied over time

Dear Sgt Shaft: Can you explain to me why my father's dog tag has two holes in it — top and bottom — instead of what "we" usually see, which are Army dog tags with a hole at the top to be worn around the neck with a chain? Published June 21, 2011

SGT. SHAFT: Widow proves vet's exposure to Agent Orange

Dear Sgt Shaft: My name is Carol H. I contacted you some time back seeking assistance in proving my case that my husband, Ralph Huey, actually served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange. He died very young from lung cancer. I just wanted to let you know that on March 30, 2011, I appeared in person in Washington, D.C., to present my case. I just received notification last week that I had won. I am so grateful. Published June 14, 2011