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Compton: Discharge documents are required for military burial

By George Compton
Saturday, March 15, 2008

In my first column as the veterans' adviser, I wrote about the importance of maintaining military discharge documents. Over the past few weeks, a number of families of deceased veterans could not prove military service for a military burial.

The funeral directors in this county make every effort to help the families, but without a discharge document or if this office cannot verify a record of service at the Department of Veterans Affairs, little can be done to obtain a ceremony.

The employees at the National Archives really make an effort to provide a discharge document as quickly as possible, and this week a discharge was provided in three days, but unfortunately it arrived one day after the funeral.

All veterans need to have a copy of their discharge, and family members need to know where to find it. If prearrangements are made with a funeral home, provide a discharge at that time. This office will assist in obtaining discharge documents.

Q. I was recently released from the service, and my wife and I are currently part-time employees. I have VA medical benefits, but my wife has no medical coverage. Any suggestions?

A. Your wife could be eligible for the Access Coverage and Enrollment (ACE) Program. The ACE program is designed to provide primary, outpatient and inpatient services, and include prescriptions.

To qualify for the program, an individual must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; ages 19 through 64; live or work in Ventura County; not enrolled in any type of insurance coverage program; and income cannot exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

To get more information and assistance in applying, call 677-5260.

Q. My husband and I are both physical therapists, and we would like to work for the VA. How could I get information about how to apply?

A. The VA has a Web site for healthcare employment at where you can locate job vacancies and apply online. You can also call the Healthcare Retention and Recruitment Office (HRRO) at 800-949-0002.

I hope you stay in this area and help our local veterans. I recommend you talk to human resources at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the Ventura County Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail: [email protected].