Dear Veterans for Jesus,
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Since our beginning in February of 2012, Veterans for Jesus groups have accomplished much to assist and support fellow veterans with personal and other needs. Although for many veterans just knowing there is someone out there who has their back is comfort enough. Together we have assisted many veterans in obtaining their much needed and well earned VA compensation benefits, sent packages to our troops abroad and spent quality time meeting the need of prayer requests.
This past year several of Veterans for Jesus members have teamed up with the Patriot Guard Riders in several states and have participated in honoring our fallen heroes and welcoming home returning war veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. In the California Capitol Region the group attended seven funeral services in 2013 for homeless veterans with no known family members.
In July 2013 we lost one member of our Veterans for Jesus team members here in CA who died of service connected disabilities related to PTSD. We learned some important lessons in assisting his widow with her application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) through the local Veterans organization.
1. The death certificate must show that a service connected disability for which the veteran was being paid compensation was at least a contributing factor in the veterans death. In this case the veteran died of a liver disease connected to alcohol. There are many disabling and potentially deadly diseases connected with PTSD unfortunately most doctors are not aware of the connections. If you have a service connected disability and are seeing a private doctor be sure you inform your doctor of your service connected disability.
In this case the Dr who filled out and filed the death certificate did not include PTSD as a contributing factor in the veteran’s death. When asked by family members to add this to the death certificate the Dr refused to do so because he had never heard of such a thing. However, Veterans for Jesus wrote the Dr on behalf of the family; submitting documentation to show that PTSD is often directly connected to many life threatening disease and illnesses including cancer caused by smoking after reading the information the doctor agreed that PTSD was a contributing factor in the veterans death; and ordered the death certificate changed. This information on the death certificate is critically important whenever there is a widow and children left behind by a veteran with a service connected disability. If a veteran meets the qualifications his widow can receive a pension from the VA for more than $14,400.00 per year and other much needed benefits. In this case the veterans widow had no idea she was even entitled to any benefit from the VA until she was informed by our group. After some waiting time the new revised death certificate was issued and she ultimately was approved by the VA for benefits and is receiving her pension. “Praise God”
2. Also adding this information to a death certificate will help with the funeral expenses the government will pay up to $2,000 if the death is related to a service connected disability or service connected, otherwise they will pay only $300.00.
We also we learned that the VA will pay 100% of the cost for emergency services such as ambulance, emergency room and hospital stay. The law requires emergency services to transport a patient to the nearest emergency facility.
For those of you who have service connected disabilities this is important information for your loved ones to know. You should keep a copy of your DD214 where family can find it along with a copy of your VA disability award letter. If you have a service connected disabilities get information about potential diseases or illnesses that may be associated with your disability.