Expedited Processing of Pact Act Claims for Veterans with Terminal Illness

VA announced it began processing PACT Act benefits claims for eligible terminally ill veterans as of Dec.12. While PACT Act claims for all other veterans will begin on Jan. 1, 2023, VA was able to expedite processing for terminally ill veterans to ensure these veterans receive their earned benefits on the earliest possible date. “These Veterans have stepped up to serve our country in the times when we needed them most — and now it’s our job to step up for them,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “It’s the right thing to do to get these heroes the world-class health care and benefits they’ve earned as soon as possible, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Contact a Credited Veterans Service Officer. Do Not Delay.

Last Chance for Congress to Support Veterans this Year

The Senate must pass critically needed legislation before the end of the 117th Congress. Contact your senators today and tell them to pass H.R. 1361, Advancing Uniform Transportation Opportunities for Veterans Act, known as the AUTO for Veterans Act; H.R. 1836, Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021; H.R. 6411, Support The Resiliency of Our Nation’s Great Veterans Act of 2022, known as the STRONG Veterans Act of 2022; and S. 2513, Brian Neuman Department of Veterans Affairs Clothing Allowance Improvement Act of 2021. The VFW urges the Senate to finish the job on veterans legislation this year. Our veterans cannot afford to wait any longer for these benefits.

End of ‘Widow’s Tax’ Survivor Benefit Offset

Beginning on Feb. 1, 2023, surviving spouses enrolled in the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) program will receive their full payment from DOD and their full Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from VA. This will be the first SBP annuity payday after the SBP-DIC Offset is fully eliminated, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023. This offset was eliminated as part of VFW-supported legislation that was incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. In addition, the 2020 NDAA eliminated the SBP Optional Annuity for Dependent Children as of Jan. 1, 2023, with final payments being sent to the child on Jan. 3, 2023. After this date, SBP payments will revert to the surviving spouse, unless the surviving spouse is not eligible to receive payments.

VA Health Care Open Enrollment

As part of the PACT Act, VA has expanded health care eligibility for certain veterans who were discharged after Sept. 11, 2001, and before Oct. 1, 2013. A one-year open enrollment period began on Oct. 1, 2022, for this group of veterans depending on their dates and locations of service, regardless of disability claim status. Once the open enrollment period has closed, veterans from this group will be eligible for VA health care as part of a phase-in process depending on discharge date. To learn more about your eligibility, get in touch with a credited Veterans Service officer.

POW/MIA Update

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Michael Uhrin, 21, of Metuchen, New Jersey, was assigned to 369th Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group, 40th Combat Wing, 8th Air Force. On Oct. 14, 1943, the B-17F Flying Fortress bomber on which Uhrin was serving as a radio operator was shot down by enemy fighters. He will be buried in his hometown on a date yet to be determined.

Army Pfc. James L. Miller, 21, was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was reported killed in action on July 30, 1950, when his unit took part in the unsuccessful defense against North Korean forces near the town of Sangju, South Korea. Interment services are pending.

Army Pfc. William L. Simon, 20, was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion,109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. He was reported killed in action on Nov. 5, 1944, when his unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio