The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held an oversight hearing on gaps in VA’s outreach to survivors for benefits and services. VFW Auxiliary member Gabriella Kubinyi spoke about the VFW’s concerns regarding claims processing and delivery of health care, specifically in relation to mental health. She also addressed support for an increase in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Kubinyi said, “Every family should be fully aware that when the veteran dies, whatever benefits they were receiving will end.” She continued by sharing her own survivor experience with Vet Center services and education assistance. As a former case worker for the VFW, she assisted many spouses who were not expecting or prepared for the abrupt end to compensation once their loved ones died. “Year after year, the VFW and advocates like me ask Congress to improve on a variety of survivor issues, and legislation is drafted but never receives the needed votes to enact significant changes,” Kubinyi said. “I strongly urge this committee to find pathways necessary to make sure survivor benefits are taken seriously and not pushed off again for the next Congress.”
Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Henry L. Stevens, 23, of Monroe, Louisiana, was assigned to the 557th Bombardment Squadron, 387th Bombardment Group, Ninth U.S. Air Force. He was killed in action on Dec. 23, 1944. He will be buried on March 8, 2024, in Bushnell, Florida.
Army Pvt. Earl E.R. Seibert, 23, of Allentown, was a member of Headquarters Company, 803rd Engineer Battalion. He was among those captured in the surrender of the Bataan peninsula on April 9, 1942, and he died while a prisoner of war on July 27 that same year. Interment services are pending.
Till next week, praying for all service members.
– Charles Castelluccio