Eight-year vet looks for benefits
December 4, 2012
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
I currently live in the United Kingdom, where I married here and
brought up our two daughters.
Please give me some help and guide me on any benefits that I can claim, retirement or some other financial benefit. I also have a copy of my
DD214 if ever required.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Via the Internet
Unfortunately as my sources tell me, there are no retirement benefits
for you as an eight-year veteran, and further that your GI Bill benefits expired 10 years after your
separation. If you have a service-connected disability, you may qualify
for compensation and health care for the disability. Finally, you will
have the opportunity to be buried in a VA or state veteran's cemetery in the U.S. That's
probably all there is for someone in your situation.
* The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is
now accepting submissions for its annual awards program. Each year, the
foundation presents awards honoring the outstanding, creative work of
individuals in preserving and promulgating the Marine Corps' history, traditions and
culture. Marines and civilians alike may submit their own entries or the
distinguished work of others for award consideration. Awards will be
presented at the foundation's annual ceremony on April 20, 2013.
Submissions deadline is Jan. 9, 2013.
From active duty and retired Marines to civilians, the awards program
draws entries from a broad spectrum of individuals interested in
portraying or recognizing some aspect of Marine life, culture, history
or work. The foundation recognizes superior achievement in literature,
art, photography, videography and museum exhibits. Award categories
include historical scholarship, journalism, and letters and arts for a
total of 15 awards. The awards submissions will be reviewed by a
distinguished and diverse panel of editors from major regional and
national media outlets, as well Marines, authors and noted
"Our annual awards ceremony spotlights the creative achievements of
civilians and Marines alike," said Lt. Gen Robert R. Blackman Jr.,
president and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. "The
foundation applauds all those who have created work that depicts
advances and preserves Marine Corps history, traditions and culture. We
strongly encourage individuals to submit their own work or submit work
on behalf of others. It is important for these works to be
Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Marine Corps history,
the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation supports the historical programs of
the Marine Corps in ways not possible through
government funds. The foundation provides grants and scholarships for research and the renovation,
restoration, and commissioning of historical Marine Corps artifacts and
For a detailed list of the awards as well as the submission
requirements, please visit: http://www.marineheritage.org/Awards.asp.
* The powers that be have been focusing on the global impact of
conflict on the lives of our nation's veterans. One of the unexpected
and little-noted consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been an increase in the
number of service members whose battlefield wounds leave them unable to
One apparent reason is the type of combat: When troops on foot
patrols are struck by improvised bombs, they are particularly vulnerable
to pelvic injuries that damage their reproductive systems. Military
records show that since 2003, more than 1,800 service members in those
wars — the majority of them Army troops — have suffered such
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, chairwoman of the Veterans' Affairs
Committee, has introduced a bill that would expand access to fertility
treatments for disabled veterans who need them. Their spouses and
surrogates would be covered as well.
The most significant change involves access to in vitro fertilization (IVF)
— though the Veterans Affairs Department now offers some fertility
services, like counseling, testing and a form of artificial
insemination, it does not allow IVF, which can cost patients many
thousands of dollars from private providers. The bill would put the V.A.
on par with the Defense Department, which provides IVF and
other fertility services to active-duty service members who are severely
wounded in combat.
Ms. Murray's bill has other provisions to help young families, like
creating child-care programs at Vet Centers so that parents are able to
seek counseling and other mental health services there, and improve
outreach to women at the veterans call center.
At a legislative hearing in June, V.A. officials said the department
wanted "to restore the capabilities of veterans with disabilities to the
greatest extent possible," but did not take a position on the bill. It
should not be difficult for the V.A. to support Ms. Murray's
legislation, whose provisions for covering fertility treatments are
sensible and welcome; even this Congress should be capable of a
bipartisan agreement to pass it.
In more than a decade of combat overseas, the military and V.A. have
continually had to adjust to the challenges of new traumas with new
treatments, as with the epidemic of brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. Adapting the V.A. health system to better meet
reproductive-health needs should be part of that response. It is one
compassionate way to fulfill the country's duty to wounded veterans.
* 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