NJ Veteran Journal
Summer 2005 Edition
Administration Expands Benefits for Ex-POWs
From the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Continuing its commitment to former prisoners of war, Veterans Affairs announced that the Bush
Administration would expand benefits to all former POWs with strokes and common heart diseases.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the new benefits in a speech tonight at a recent national convention of the American Ex-Prisoners of War.

The Administration’s decision benefits former POWs with strokes and most heart diseases. Those
veterans will be automatically eligible for disability compensation for those common ailments, and their spouses and dependents will be eligible for service-connected survivors’ benefits if these diseases contribute to the death of a former POW.

In September 2003, the VA launched a nationwide outreach effort to identify and provide benefits
to the estimated 11,000 former POWs who were not receiving VA disability compensation or other
services. There are about 35,000 living ex-POWs.

The VA also has urged Congress to change federal law that required that former POWs must
be detained for at least 30 days to qualify for the full range of POW benefits.

The Administration’s new decision will add to the list of 16 medical problems that VA presumes to
be linked to the military service of former POWs.


VA Distributing Insurance Dividends
From the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced its distribution of more than $449 million in dividends to 1.4 million active policyholders of veterans’ life insurance.

Over the next year, veterans will receive payments on the anniversary date of their policies, with the specific dividend amount varying according to age; type of insurance, and length of time the policy has been in force. Veterans will automatically receive their annual dividend through one of the nine payment options available to them.

Dividends cover only veterans with government life insurance policies who served between 1917 and 1956. VA life insurance programs that do not pay dividends cover veterans of subsequent eras.

The dividends represent a return of trust fund earnings on the premiums paid by policy holders throughout the years. They reflect the fact that veterans are living longer than originally predicted. Dividends are also attributable to the higher than expected yields earned by the trust
funds from investments in government securities.

Only those with policies that have been kept in force are eligible for the payout. Inaccurate notices periodically surface suggesting that those who have not maintained insurance are eligible for a special dividend if they contact VA, but this is false. Dividends are automatically sent to eligible policyholders.

Although VA administers a special life insurance program for disabled veterans and a program offering mortgage life insurance coverage neither pays dividends. Additionally, no dividends are paid on Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.

Veterans with questions about their policy should call VA Insurance toll free at 1-800-669-8477, or by e-mail mail to: VAinsurance@vba.va.gov or visit http://www.insurance.va.gov.


Card Protects Vets from Identity Theft

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently created an identification card for veterans that will protect confidential information.

The new identification card, called the Veterans Identification Card, ensures veterans’ personal
information is protected. The card also helps prevent the theft of important benefits and services from veterans.

The Veterans Identification Card will have veterans’ photos on the front and identify them as enrollees in the VA’s health care system. The card includes the words “service connected” under the photo if the veteran has a serviceconnected disability.

Veterans should request the new card at their local medical center. Processing will take five to
seven days once eligibility is verified. VA hopes to complete the conversion to the new, safer card by mid-November. The existing cards will remain valid until veterans receive their new cards.

Table of Contents
Abel New DCVA
Governor’s Letter
Vets Homes Update
NJ Medals Honor Veterans
Mental Health Hotline
Army Program For Vets
VA Reaches out to New Vets
Vets News You Can Use
One Shots
POW Expanded Benefits
VSO Listing
Front Page / General Info

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