Compton: Service entitles man to expedited citizenship

By George Compton
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Q. My cousin is serving in the Army. He is not a citizen, but I was told that his service would help him get his citizenship. Is that true?

A. Serving this country will certainly afford him the opportunity for expedited citizenship. He needs to make sure his unit is aware of his intentions, and he will get assistance. He is exempt from application fees, and his application can be finalized wherever he is stationed. As a commander, I was always honored to be part of a ceremony when one of my soldiers received their citizenship.

Should there be any problems in the application, service members, veterans and their families may call 877-247-4645 for assistance.

Q. While in the Navy I was exposed to asbestos working in the boiler room. Can I file a claim for that exposure?

A. You cannot file a claim for exposure. If you have or will have in the future a disability caused by asbestos exposure, then we will assist you in filing a claim.

Q. I was recently rated 100 percent disabled by the VA. What do I need to do to get a vehicle fee exemption from the DMV?

A. The vehicle fee exemption is not automatic with a 100 percent disability rating. For the exemption you must have a disability that substantially impairs mobility; be unable to move without the aid of a device; have loss or loss of use of one or more limbs; or have suffered permanent blindness. If you believe you qualify for the exemption, you need to contact the VA for a Mobility Letter that will verify your mobility problem to DMV. If you need assistance in contacting the VA, we will help.

Q. My mother has been receiving an annuity for five years because my father’s death was service-connected. She never filed for any help with funeral expenses. Is there a time limit for applying for that benefit?

A. There is no time limit when applying for burial benefits from a service-connected death. Bring us the mortuary/cemetery receipts and we will assist.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail: [email protected].