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Vet who didn't serve during conflict is still eligible

By George Compton
Saturday, March 28, 2009

Q. I served in the Air Force during the early 1980s when there was not any conflict, and I have no service-connected disabilities. Do I qualify for VA medical care?

A. Veterans who enter active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum does not apply to veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

If you meet the time requirement, without a comprehensible service- connected disability, you must be under the current income limit to be eligible. The income level will be raised this summer, so if you are a little over now and at the new level you would be eligible, the VA will let you know.

I recommend you apply now. Call Mario Holguin at the VA Community Clinic (604-6993) and he will assist you. The address of the new clinic is 2000 Outlet Center Drive, Suite 225, in Oxnard.

Q. I will soon be released from active duty and I would like to find out about converting my active duty life insurance policy to a veterans life insurance policy. Where can I get information?

A. Go to the VA Web site (http://www.va.gov) and highlight Benefits. At that menu, click Life Insurance, then Convert my SGLI to VGLI.

That site will give you the information you need and you can apply online.

You must apply within 120 days and one year from discharge. That site has an insurance needs calculator to help you decide on what you need.

Q. I am eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and I would like to start taking classes this summer. Will I receive a retroactive payment for those classes?

A. The Post 9/11 Bill only covers classes taken or training pursued on or after Aug. 1, 2009.

— George Compton, a retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the county Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033, phone 385-6366, fax 385-6371, or e-mail george.compton@ventura.org.

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