February 3, 2015

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft;
I’m 75, my husband passed away in 2011. He was 78. I remarried in Sept 2014. My question is; Do I still have Tricare for life or do I lose it when I remarried?

Thank you;
KPK
Via the internet

Dear K,
All Tricare benefits are lost upon remarriage unless you married another retired Service member. You do not get the Tricare benefits back if the remarriage ends due to divorce or death. There is an exception that allows the reinstatement of Tricare if the married is annulled. You may want to check with the VA about health care benefits. VA health care benefits are called CHAMPVA. CHAMPVA benefits are available to survivors under certain circumstances, these being that your veteran spouse was rated permanently and totally disabled due to a Service-connected condition at the time of death or died of a Service-connected disability.

Shaft Notes
Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44) and Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01), recently introduced legislation to make resources available to veterans fleeing domestic violence. The legislation updates the definition of “homeless veteran” to include those fleeing domestic violence so that they may access benefits for homeless veterans.

Among women veterans, 39 percent report experiences with domestic violence at some point in their lifetimes, well above the national average. Tragically, domestic violence is a major contributor to homelessness among women and the growing number of homeless female veterans.

“We must provide these heroes who have protected us with the resources they need, including a place where they are protected. Veterans have put their lives on the line for our country and should never find themselves without a safe home to come back to just because they don’t fall under the proper definitions,” said Congresswoman Hahn. “By making this small yet significant change, veterans fleeing domestic violence will have access to resources so they do not need to choose between staying with an abuser and becoming homeless.”

“This is a common-sense bill,” said Dr. Benishek, Chairman of the Veterans Subcommittee on Health.  “Veterans whose lives have been upended by domestic violence should never be turned away on account of a technicality. We have an obligation to do everything in our power to help our heroes when they return home.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a number of programs to assist homeless veterans, however, the outdated definition of “homelessness” can cause problems for victims of domestic violence.  The legislation introduced today would correct and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ definition of “homeless veteran” to include veterans fleeing situations of domestic violence and other life threatening situations.  By expanding the definition, it brings it to the same standard as the rest of the law and will allow those veterans to access the benefits that should be available to all homeless veterans.

Congresswoman Hahn was successful in establishing a temporary fix to help veterans displaced by domestic violence through the House Appropriations process last year, and her newly introduced legislation aims to permanently fix this tragic oversight in federal law.

This legislation has already garnered the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), AMVETS, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, The Service Women’s Action Network, The Association of the US Navy, The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Veterans for Common Sense, The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, and The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Sgt. Shaft Kudos badgeKudos to Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) who recently announced that he will continue to serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee as Vice Chairman. Additionally, he will serve on the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee.

“It is an honor to serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and I am proud to be named Vice Chairman once again by Chairman Miller. Veterans have always been a top priority of mine, and I look forward to working over the next two years to ensure our nation’s true heroes get the care and benefits they deserve,” said Bilirakis.

Bilirakis continued: “I am also pleased to join the VA Health Subcommittee in the 114th Congress. Serving on the Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Veterans Health Administration puts me in a unique position to ensure Veterans receive the timely access to quality care they have earned and deserve.”

The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission released a 300-page report today that contained 15 specific recommendations regarding military pay and retirement compensation, health benefits and military quality of life programs. The following statement is from John W. Stroud, the national commander of the 1.9 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliaries:

“The commission said from the onset that its mission was to preserve the long-term viability of the All-Volunteer Force, to maintain the quality of life of troops and their families, and to achieve fiscal sustainability for the military compensation and retirement systems going forward. The report does contain recommendations to increase military retiree Tricare fees, as well as to alter the military retirement program for future enlistees, but the devil is always in the details, and the VFW will now review the entire report in detail and address our concerns with the United States Congress.

“The VFW thanks the nine commission members and staff for staying focused on the reform of existing programs, and for not using the opportunity to merely cut programs or slash compensation.”

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