On Nov. 11, our nation will again take time out to recognize the sacrifices that our Veterans have made. This is a day all of us here in Beltrami County can take time out to thank each Veteran individually for their service to our country.
Whether in war or peace, veterans of our nation have and continue to defend the freedoms that we all enjoy by their willingness to serve. So on Veterans Day 2012, we pay tribute to all those who have worn the uniform. Please take time out of your busy day to thank a veteran. They will appreciate it.
A program that veterans and their families need to be aware of is the VA Pension benefit. This is a benefit that is paid to wartime era veterans (does not require being in combat) with limited income who are age 65 or older, or under 65, and are permanently and totally disabled, or, a patient in a nursing home, or, are receiving Social Security disability payments. Veterans who are more seriously disabled may also qualify for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits.
Generally, you may be eligible if you were discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable, and, you served at least 90 days of active military service and at least one day was during a war time period. If you entered active duty after Sept. 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months. Additionally, your income for VA purposes must be below the maximum annual pension rate which is set by Congress. You cannot receive both a VA pension and service-connected compensation payments at the same time.
However, if you apply for pension and are awarded payments, VA will pay you whichever benefit is the greater amount.
As you can see, there are a number of criteria that may affect your eligibility for pension benefits. If you are unsure if you meet all criteria, we encourage you to go ahead and apply. VA will determine if you are eligible.
Our recent Veterans Standdown in October was a huge success. We had 202 Veterans attend the event – which was the most ever. Thanks to everyone who supported this event.
We continue to do outreach in Kelliher. On the first and third Mondays of the month, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., we will have a representative at the old school. It is still best to call us before dropping by so we can better assist you; however, walk-ins are certainly welcome.
Thanks to Coca-Cola for providing refreshments in the Veterans Service Office. Your kind donations are greatly appreciated by all our visiting Veterans.
Don’t forget if you have any questions regarding veteran benefits, please call the County Veterans Service Office at 218-333-4177/4178.
Scotty Allison is the Beltrami County Veterans Service officer.