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Svr Show Wesdnesday 7-28-2010 "a Veteran's Exit With Dignity"

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John Rossie and Carol Olszanecki, and Sue Bellanger from the Blue Water Navy are going to start a multi-session presentation on a topic of great importance that is often ignored. They will be going over the materials and procedures that occur upon a veteran's death.

They've titled their program "A Veteran's Exit with Dignity" and will cover all the elements a spouse should know before that veteran dies; all the actions the widow needs to take regarding funeral arrangements; and what limits the widow may be entitled to and how to get them.

This is a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable talking about, but they will have cases to discuss that talks about the confusion and frustration if the veteran's death is NOT talked about.

This is a very interssting topic and since we all are going to die someday, It is better to be prepared.


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I meant to post this info sooner -just basically some notes I prepared for the show we did on July 28th:

Start a Death file:

Make sure there is a list of all of your internet passwords that your family might need.in this file. Web sites you belong to will want to know of your death.

Many of us pay our bills on line and some of us have automatic draws.

The bills will still have to be paid after death but at some point the accounts on line will have to be contacted

mostly likely through using the email addy and password the veteran used.

Use a manila folder and mark it as the death file or whatever you wish.Your survivors will be grateful to have some direction after you die as to many thngs we mentioned on the show.

NEVER PUT Insurance policies or a will into a Safe deposit box.

Put these things into your death file with a certified copy of your DD 214.

If you also have a DD 215 make sure that is there too.

Put your VA award letter and SSA award letter in this file-

Or at least put down you C file number and mark this as what the spouse might need for VA benefits.

Some vets actually have a blank 21-534 in these files.

State on a note that the spouse must call both SSA and the VA when you die.

This file might well need to contain your marriage license and birth certificates for any children.

Although VA probably has all this , they will again ask for them when you die.

On the note for the spouse tell him or her to get at least 6 or more raised seal death certificates. They will need them for the insurance policies and many other reasons.

Let him or her know of any credit accounts you have that have a life insurance waiver on the balance. Also tell the spouse the type of any VA insurance you have and the insurance policy number.

Private Life insurance usually pays out within 10 days after their receipt of the policies and the death certificate.

The insurance compnay will most likely ask you to send them the original policy.

Make sure you have a Health Care Proxy and DNR signed and in this file.

If you are an AO vet and have a claim pending at death-unlike all other types of claims-the Nehmer Court Order will kick in and the VA, upon award of the pending claim-will need to know your next of kin.

Make sure the spouse is aware of this.

VA cannot simply keep any AO money due a deceased vet.-if you have no spouse make sure that you state in this file who is your next of kin with some contact info for them.


Can make the difference between a DIC award and a DIC denial. An autopsy will contain a thorough and more definitive cause of death than most death certificates contain.

An autopsy for an Organ donor will also contain a complete toxicology report.

If you are an organ donor you will be autopsied. I feel every vetshould make it clear to their spouse that they should be autopsied.

Everyone should consider if they want to be an organ donor. Organ donations usually involve simple surgical procedures that would not hinder having an open casket. Other types of donations such as my husband's donations involved his skin and bones so that required cremation.

Cardiac deaths can also support donation of some parts of a heart like the valves in some cases.

and eye bank donations save the sight of 2 people for every good cornea donation.

For the spouse –

Don’t leave your home unattended during the days that the funeral and burial takes place.

Thieves read obits all the time.

You don’t have to feel obligated to spend a lot of time entertaining neighbors and make sure they don’t hang around if the insurance company representative comes directly to your home.

Save the veteran’s drivers license-for my AO claim and possibly in other cases -the driver's license could be instrumental evidence of a SC claim that might involve the veteran’s vision.

Also save the veteran’s phone number and address book-

There might be friends in there who would want to know of the death- people that you might not know well or remember their phone numbers.

Widows and widows of a deceased veteran can collect SSA on the veteran’s account at age 60.

Also they might be eligible for SSA payments if they have children under 16 years of age and also they might be eligible for the REPS entitlement program if their spouse died due to SC contributing or causing death and they have children between ages 16 and 18.

In any case where a veteran dies with minor children the REPS application should be filed out and SSA survivors benefits should be applied for.

There is no time limit on REPS entitlement.If eligible it can be a five figure award.It depends on a direct service connected death award and a loss of the mother or father's SSA survivor benefit when their child turned 16.There is more to REPS then that and it can be searched here at hadit.

Make SURE if your veteran wants a Military funeral that you contact the AL right away to see what arrangements can be made for that.If he or she is to be buried in a National VA Cemetery-neither the cemetery office nor the VA Chaplain can process a military funeral request. Most undertakers will know what to do as to that-they themselves might contact the AL for you or a specific military group that will have this done.AL handles Miltary funerals in ths area so it depends on who is available to provide Color Guard, gun salute etc.

Let you family know of your awards and decorations. I wrote my husband's obit myself to make sure it was all in there.

Most funeral directors will do a good obituary but in my opinion, it should reflect the veteran's military service and any awards they received.Make sure the funeral director lets you read it before it is published.

Edited by Berta

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Check out our new page for this topic Veterans Dependent Benefits


We've tried to include lots of resources for you forms to download, articles and other tips. Also on this page is a link to a zip file if you want to download all the forms to your computer at one time.

We hope you find it helpful.

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Tbird-I got a message "URL not found" when I clicked on the link.

Although I had multiple survivor claims I cant recall using any of these forms except the 21-534 so I am anxious to see what I must have missed.

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Sorry - but I will not be available for this weeks show.

Break a leg to all and I hope it goes great.

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