+ IMPORTANT Info Vets & Retirees


Subject: Important Information for Veterans and Military Retirees
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 08:29:23 EDT
From: WASP188@aol.com

Veterans Burial Rights:
For Burial in a VA National Cemetery Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.va.gov/ (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance; however, reservations made prior to 1973 will be honored. Families are encouraged to prepare in advance by discussing cemetery options, collecting the veterann's military information including discharge papers, and by contacting the cemetery where burial is desired.

For Burial in a Private Cemetery
We suggest that if burial will be in a private cemetery and a Government headstone or marker will be requested for the veteran's grave, that the family complete VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private or State Veterans Cemetery http://www.cem.va.gov/hmform.html in advance and place it with the veterans military discharge papers for use at the time of need.

Obtaining Military Records & Medals
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not maintain veterans military service records. The National Archives and Records Administration is the official depository for records of military personnel separated from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. The records are housed in three locations: the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Md., and the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Mo.The NPRC contains records relating to: http://www.nara.gov/

U.S. Army officers separated after June 30, 1917, and enlisted Army personnel separated after October 31, 1912.

U.S. Air Force officers and enlisted personnel separated after September 1947.

U.S. Naval officers separated after 1902, and naval enlisted personnel separated after 1885.

U.S. Marine Corps officers separated after 1895, and enlisted personnel separated after 1904.

U.S. Coast Guard officers separated after 1928, and enlisted personnel separated after 1914.

Civilian employees of predecessor agencies (Revenue Cutter Service, Life-Saving Service and Lighthouse Service) of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1864-1919.

The Fire
A fire at the NPRC in St. Louis on July 12, 1973, destroyed about 80 percent of the records for Army personnel discharged between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. Approximately 75 percent of the records for Air Forcepersonnel with surnames from "Hubbard" through "Z" discharged between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964, were also destroyed.

What was Lost?
It is hard to determine exactly what was lost in the fire, because there were no indices to the blocks of records involved. The records were merely filed in alphabetical order for the following groups:

World War I:Army November 1, 1912 - September 7, 1939
World War II:Army September 8, 1939 - December 31, 1946
Post World War II: Army January 1, 1947 - December 31, 1959
Air Force: September 25, 1947 - December 31, 1963
Millions of records, especially medical records, had been withdrawn from all three groups and loaned to the Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.va.gov/ (VA) before the fire.

The fact that one's records are not in NPRC files at a particular time does not mean the records were destroyed in the fire.

Reconstruction of Lost Records
If a veteran learns that their records may have been lost in the fire, they may send photocopies of any documents they possess to the NPRC, particularly separation documents.

The address is:
National Personnel Records Center,
Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Blvd.,
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.

The NPRC will add those documents to the computerized index and file them permanently.

Alternate Sources of Military Service Data
When veterans do not have copies of their records and their NPRC files may have been lost in the fire, essential information about their military service may be available from a number of other sources.

The VA maintains records on veterans whose military records were affected by the fire if the veteran or a beneficiary filed a claim prior to July 1973. Service information may also be found in various kinds of "organizational" records such as unit morning reports, payrolls and military orders on file at the NPRC or other National Archives and Records Administration facilities. There is also a great deal of information available in records of the State Adjutants General, and other state "veterans services" offices. By using alternate sources, NPRC may often be able to reconstruct a veteran's beginning and ending dates of active service, the character of service, rank while in service, time lost while on active duty, and periods of hospitalization. NPRC can issue http://www.nara.gov/regional/mpralts.html http://www.nara.gov/regional/mpralts.html NA Form 13038, Certification of Military Service, http://public.scott.af.mil/375aw/RAO/Section2/SSec2.1.2.htm (scroll down) considered the equivalent of a Form DD-214, Report of Separation From Active Duty, for the purpose of establishing eligibility for veterans benefits.

Necessary Information for File Reconstruction
The key to reconstructing military data is to give the NPRC enough specific information so the staff can properly search the various sources. The following information is normally required:

Full name used during military service
Branch of service
Approximate dates of service
Service number or Social Security number
Place of entry into service
Last unit of assignment
Place of discharge

Toll-Free Numbers of Senior Pharmacy Program and TRICARE for Life. If you missed the toll-free telephone numbers provided earlier, here they are again:
o Senior Pharmacy Program 1-877-DOD-MEDS (1-877-363-6337)
o TRICARE For Life program 1-888-DOD-LIFE (1-888-363-5433)
o TRICARE Prime Remote for active duty and their family members program 1-888-DOD-CARE (1-888-363-2273).
Hours of operation for the telephone information center are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. - 11 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET.

On Memorial Day, President Bush announced the creation of "The President's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans." Here is the link to the official White House announcement:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/05/20010529-5.html http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/05/20010529-5.html

This healthcare program is top-notch if you happen to be lucky enough to be in that part of the country where the program is located. DOD Approves Year-Round Access to USFHP Continuous Enrollment Now Allowed in TRICARE Prime Health Plan Highly Rated by Members Washington, D.C. (May 30, 2001) - Effective June 1, 2001, eligible uniformed services retirees and their families may enroll in the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (USFHP), a TRICARE Prime Designated Provider, at any time during the year. Prior to that date, retired military beneficiaries were only allowed to enroll in the popular military health plan during a one-month enrollment period each year. Family members of active duty military have always been able to enroll in USFHP at any time.

The USFHP is a Department of Defense-sponsored health plan available to families of active duty military, retirees and their eligible family members, including those age 65 and over. The plan provides TRICARE Prime health care through networks of community-based civilian hospitals and physicians in seven areas of the country:

Serving central Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia

Serving Maine and southern New Hampshire

Serving eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, and Rhode Island

Serving parts of New York, all of New Jersey and southern Connecticut

Serving northeast Ohio

Serving southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana

Serving the Puget Sound area of Washington State

According to a 2001 USFHP member survey conducted by Market Street Research, the USFHP consistently maintains a patient satisfaction rating that is significantly higher than the national average for commercial managed care plans. In fact, 82 percent of USFHP members rated overall satisfaction with the plan at 8 or higher on a 10-point scale, compared to 57 percent for HMOs.

The decision to allow continuous enrollment in the USFHP was made after conducting a successful demonstration project of continuous enrollment in 2000 authorized by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 at the USFHPs located in Boston, New York and Seattle.

Eligible uniformed services retirees and their families may now enroll with the USFHP at any time in all the USFHP service areas, including Portland, Maine; Baltimore, Maryland; Houston, Texas; and Cleveland, Ohio.

"USFHP's continuous open enrollment program provides military retirees and their families flexibility and choice in their health care," said Marshall Bolyard LTC, USA-RET., Executive Director of USFHP at CHRISTUS Health in Texas.

"USFHP continues to live up to the promise of providing lifetime quality healthcare to all military beneficiaries, including those age 65 and older," said Dr. Sue Schwartz, Deputy Director, Government Relations for Health Affairs for The Retired Officers Association. "It is clear that the USFHP thoroughly understands the health issues and medical needs of our uniformed service families."

For more information about the DoD-sponsored USFHP health care program, call 1-888-25-USFHP or visit the USFHP Web site at http://www.usfhp.org

SOURCE: USFHP Press Release
Contact: Jennifer Garfinkel
(202) 775-1401

Question: Will Medicare or TRICARE For Life pay for long-term care?
Answer: No. They cover certain care in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), but that is much different than long-term care. SNF care is post-hospitalization care for patients who are expected to recover fully. Long-term care, also called "custodial care", is for people who require permanent assistance in activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing and physical movement. Beneficiaries themselves are solely responsible for paying for custodial services. Beneficiaries desiring such coverage must purchase long-term care insurance, but will have to meet certain "medical underwriting conditions" as determined by the insurance industry.

Congress has authorized development of a government-sponsored long-term care insurance plan for active and retired servicemembers and federal employees. But the extended time needed for program development, contract negotiations, and preparation/printing of program materials means this coverage is not expected to be available until October 2002. In the meantime, commercial coverage is the only available option.

Important Information for Military Retirees
http://www.reg9.med.navy.mil/Beneficiaries/over65.htm http://www.reg9.med.navy.mil/Beneficiaries/over65.htm (copy and paste into your browser)

Social Security Handbook, 2001
http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/ssa-hbk.htm http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/ssa-hbk.htm (copy and paste into your browser)

Correction to link in last newsletter.
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System http://www.civilwar.nps.gov/cwss/ (most interesting Web site) http://www.civilwar.nps.gov/cwss/

Four Relatives and a Funeral

During one of my last visits with my mother, when she was mostly confined to bed, I went to see my Uncle Sidney. "You ought to plan for a funeral," he said. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/02/opinion/02WALD.html http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/02/opinion/02WALD.html

Senior Chief Don Harribine, USN(Ret)

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