Ailing vets can stay home: US gov't will find a way to get your application

Among those who trooped to the PVAO here Tuesday were veterans in wheelchair or were carried by relatives. One veteran from Davao del Sur nearly collapsed, having traveled very early for at least an hour on board a motorcycle driven by a relative.

As of 3:44 p.m. Tuesday, only 50 applications had been processed because aside from the unbearable heat in a crowded office, the interviews took so long. “Matagal talaga,” (it’s taking so long), said the son of a veteran holding a number between 120 and 130.  “Many of the veterans are now hard of hearing so they have to shout.”

The  “Frequently Asked Questions” on the “World War II Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund” released by the US Embassy in Manila, states that the United Stated Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting claims and that “claims can only be accepted from Filipino WWII veterans.”

The veterans are also encouraged to “apply in person” but it also states that “if a veteran is unable to appear in person, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office will arrange to obtain the application in an appropriate manner.”

“Claims from spouses, widows and children of Filipino WWII veterans cannot be accepted,” the Embassy said.

Deadline for filing the claim is on 16 February 2010.

Eligible veterans who are not United States citizens will receive a one-time payment of $9,000 while eligible veterans who are United States citizens will receive a one-time payment of $15,000.

There is no announcement as yet as to when the veterans will receive the benefit that they applied for and filed between February 24 and 26 at the selected PVAO offices in the country, three of them in Mindanao.

On the question: “when will I receive the payment,” the Embassy’s answer is: “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working actively to implement this new public law to ensure all eligible veterans receive their rightful benefits as soon as possible.  Claims are now being accepted, and information regarding the actual release of payments will be provided as it becomes available.”

If a veteran who filed his claim before February 17, 2010 dies before the benefit is paid, his surviving spouse can claim the benefit.

According to the same Q and A, the following veterans are eligible for the one-time payment authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: “persons who served before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Government of the  Commonwealth of the Philippines, while such forces were in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States; members of the organized guerrilla forces under commanders appointed, designated, or subsequently recognized by the Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, or other competent authority in the Army of the United States; persons who served in the Philippine Scouts under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Voluntary Recruitment A
ct of 1945.”

But “to  be eligible for the new benefit, service members in each of the three categories above must have been discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.” (MindaNews)