Sunday, May 28, 2017

Remembering those left behind on Memorial Day

By Mary Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection

COLUMBUS, Ohio - As the nation pauses his Memorial Day to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, veterans organizations say it's important also to remember those who are left behind.

Cheryl Rawls, director of the Pension and Fiduciary Service with the Veterans Benefits Administration, says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to helping both veterans and their families, and notes assistance doesn't stop once a veteran dies.

"Some veterans, it may only be their child that is remaining," she explains. "Some pass away, there is a spouse and a family. We also have some veterans that pass away and leave their parents behind, and that's why we have parents' dependency indemnity compensation."

About 21,000 survivors of veterans receive VA benefits in Ohio. Nationally, there are about 600,000, including one dependent of a Civil War veteran, and dozens of spouses and children of veterans of the Spanish American War.

Rawls notes the VA works with many other organizations in every state to provide a community of support for military families.

"Social Security Administration, we also partner with different veteran service organizations like the Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America, but we work with state offices and county veteran service offices," she states.

Rawls encourages veterans to speak with their families about the assistance that is available through the VA, including monetary and burial benefits, as well as assistance in securing home loans, education and vocational counseling.

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