Veterans' Corner: VA reaches out to vets and spouses

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Saratoga County-The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is reaching out to inform wartime veterans and surviving spouses of deceased wartime veterans about an under-used, special monthly pension benefit called Aid and Attendance.

     Although this is not a new program, not everyone is aware of his or her potential eligibility. The Aid and Attendance pension benefit may be available to wartime veterans and surviving spouses who have in-home care or who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Many elderly veterans and surviving spouses whose incomes are above the congressionally mandated legal limit for a VA pension may still be eligible for the special monthly Aid and Attendance benefit if they have large medical expenses, including nursing home and assisted living expenses, for which they do not receive reimbursement.

To qualify, claimants must be incapable of self support and in need of regular personal assistance.

The aid and attendance income threshold for a veteran without dependents is $19,736 annually. The threshold increases to $23,396 if a veteran has one dependent, and by $2,020 for each additional dependent. The annual Aid and Attendance threshold for a surviving spouse alone is $12,681. This threshold increases to $15,128 if there is one dependent child and by $2,020 for each additional child.

Additional information and assistance in applying for the Aid and Attendance benefit may be obtained by calling Robert Mitchell at the Saratoga County Veterans Service Agency, 884-4115.

Naval base seeks volunteers

Saratoga Springs Naval Base is looking for volunteers for its retired actives office (RAO). Interested retirees should contact the administration office at 886-0200, ext. 2.

Veterans wanted

Drywall laborers and experienced tapers (own tools). Call for an interview, 893-7318.

Blue Star Mothers welcomes new members

Blue Star Mothers of America Inc., Capital Region Chapter 2 – NY, is looking for membership.

In order to join, you must be the mother of an active-duty or honorably discharged military person or step-mother of a child before they were 13 years of age.

For more information, write to Blue Star Mothers Chapter 2 – NY, P.O. Box 243, Delmar, NY 12054 or go to www.capitalre|gion2bsm.org.

Attention Navy veterans

Navy veterans were faced with many dangers while defending their country. Many lost their lives or were injured during their service; many more contracted cancer due to exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos while working as machinist mates, ship fitters, mechanics, insulators, pipe fitters, welders, firemen, boilermakers, boiler tenders, carpenters, electricians, painters and laborers aboard ships or in shipyards.

Any veteran who thinks he or she has a lung disease or lung cancer due to these conditions should call Robert G. Mitchell at the Saratoga County Veterans Agency, 884-4115.

Post 9/11 GI Bill taking applications

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that veterans can begin submitting applications online for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. “There is no better investment than education,” said Tammy Duckworth, VA’s assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs. “The Post 9/11 GI Bill will provide new opportunities that are essential to our veterans, our workforce and our economy.”

Veterans, service members, reservists and National Guard members with active duty since Sept. 10, 2001, may be eligible for this benefit. Veterans will remain eligible for benefits for 15 years from the date of last discharge or release from a period of active duty of at least 90 continuous days.

Eligible applicants must have served for an aggregate period of at lease 90 days since Sept. 10, 2001, or served at least 30 continuous days on active duty since Sept.10, 2001, and received a discharge for a disability.

For more information, call |1-888-442-4551 or go to www.GIBILL.VA.gov.

Coming events

• The town of Malta Veteran’s Committee is planning its first Malta Veteran’s Festival Saturday, June 27. A parade will begin an evening celebration with food booths, military displays, children’s activities and fireworks, all to honor the local veterans and focus attention on their sacrifices. The parade, which will commence at Malta Town Hall and conclude at the Albany Saratoga Speedway, will step off at |4:30 p.m.

• Steak and chicken BBQ to benefit the Guardian House Project for Homeless Women Veterans is planned from 1 to |6 p.m. Aug. 15, at the Fraternal Order Eagles Lodge, 373 Crescent Ave., in Saratoga Springs. The cost is $25 per person (children younger than 10 admitted free). Hot dogs, hamburgers and salads will be served all day, steaks and chicken with baked potato and salad will be offered from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

For more information, call 885-0091 or go to www.vethome.|org.

Robert Mitchell is director of the Saratoga County Veterans Service Agency. Contact him regarding veterans affairs at 884-4115.

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