How to get combat-related back pay
By George Compton
Q: I started receiving Combat Related Special Compensation a couple of years ago, and I was never paid any back pay. How can I check on my status?
A: Go to the Defense Finance and Accounting Web site (http://dfas.mil) and near the bottom of the page you will see Updated Processing on VA Retro Program. There you will find the status of the backlog of cases and how to submit a question online.
Q: My VA doctor gave me a recommendation for aid and attendance. I have never filed a claim for any benefits before. What do I do with this form?
A: You need to work with one of my claims officers. To be eligible for aid and attendance you must be receiving either compensation or pension from the VA.
Q: I have been activated with my unit for duty in Afghanistan. I understand there is insurance coverage for traumatic injuries. How and when can I apply?
A: Traumatic Service members' Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) is a traumatic injury protection rider under Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) that provides for payment to any member of the uniformed services covered by SGLI who sustains a traumatic injury that results in certain severe losses. TSGLI coverage is automatic for those insured under basic SGLI and cannot be declined.
TSGLI coverage will pay a benefit of between $25,000 and $100,000 depending on the loss directly resulting from the traumatic injury. Some examples of injuries that would result in a $50,000 benefit are the loss of sight in one eye and the loss of a thumb and index finger of the same hand. The complete list of traumatic injuries can be found at the Life Insurance Section of the VA Web site (http://www.va.gov).
Q: I have been reading about decreasing funds for the VA and difficulty in getting into the healthcare system. I have never applied, but I was awarded a Purple Heart. Will that help me get enrolled?
A: The VA Healthcare System has Priority Groups designated for healthcare. Veterans with service-connected disabilities are in Priority Groups One through Three and veterans with Purple Hearts are included in Priority Group Three. There are also no fees for treatment for these priority groups.
— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, 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: George.Compton@ventura.org.
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